Our primary purpose is to know and love God with all our hearts and then to love and be a blessing to others. Our children gain a sense of their purpose in life by knowing that they are a blessing to others.
My 7 year old daughter’s favourite thing to do is to make cards and gifts for people. She will find whatever she can, add a special personal touch and wrap it up for a gift. Every day she brings me little gifts of flowers, cards, petals, herbs or pretty seeds that she finds. She has decorated the walls of hubby and my bedroom with beautiful little pictures and flowers that she has cut out – and many other creative things.
She knows without being told that her giving blesses others – and that blessing others is part of God’s design and purpose for her life.
For her, giving comes naturally – its what she loves and its one way she expresses love; but the interesting thing is that our other little ones get inspired by watching what she does and then they also make things to give to mom and dad, to each other or to family and friends. They too are inspired by the sense of purpose that it brings.
Its wonderful to be a blessing!
God blesses us with so many things which are expressions of his creativity and his love for us.
- a thousand tiny starfish strewn along a sandy shore.
- a million colours in a sunset sky
- majestic grey elephants and great blue whales to watch
- stars in the heavens
Here are some ways that we are working on being a blessing to others:
1. Writing a handwritten letter each week to bless someone with. This is something I have never been very good at, I’ve always found the digital version much easier. These days – group letters, group emails, sms’s are so much quicker and more convenient, – but who doesn’t LOVE a real letter in the mail. As inspired by Se7en – we have made this a goal of ours. I have started a list of people that I would like to reconnect with or simply bless and each week I plan to write a letter to them and post it. My children will do this too – they choose who to write to and what to say, they draw the pictures and make the card. I can help with writing and addressing if necessary, then we’ll all go post them together. I’d also like to include a parcel when possible for someone far away – something we’ve made or bought to bless that person.
2. Writing handwritten “Thank You” notes for each gift received is something I have NEVER been good at and have done very sporadically throughout my life. I was encouraged to do this as a child, but I never learned how to make it happen – and the few times I did write the notes they hardly ever got posted. Now both the writing and the posting are IN THE SCHEDULE! These days often we don’t write notes – I think we get TOO MANY gifts!! If we reduce the amount of gifts all at once at parties, Christmas celebrations, etc and we write more thank you notes for the ones we do receive, things would be more in balance! If it feels overwhelming to write a whole lot of thank you notes we could space it out by doing one or two per week and make them personal by going all out and making a card that is specific to the receiver – something they will love that will be special to them in particular. I have two friends who always write thank you notes or encouraging notes by hand and it blesses me so!
A great inspiration for her BEAUTIFUL card-making is Heidi-Mari from Heidi’s Crafts.
I am tempted to use the excuse that gift giving / card making is not my love language – but I think we all appreciate cards so much. The only to teach my children to do this is to do it myself!
3. For special celebration meals like Shabbat or other family celebrations, we ask one child to wrap up a surprise for each of the other people that will be present at the meal. Sometimes we have bought little treats that they can wrap up and decorate however they’d like and other times I have asked them if they’d like to find the gifts themselves. Its been amazing to see how they go about this – digging in their treasure boxes, finding special little stones or pretty treasures; a tiny hairbrush for little sister, little box for brother, etc. The other children are so blessed by the gifts from the heart and the giver just loves it!
4. We encourage our children to make their own birthday cards for friends birthdays instead of making them ourselves.
5. Write a thank you letter to Jesus each week in a prayer journal – to help our children remember how everything we have is a blessing from the Lord and to learn to talk to him in their own way.
7. Invite a lonely person over for a meal and go all out to make them feel appreciated and special – the children can help cook, set the table, make a little gift or card for the person. Doing it together makes it extra special.
8. Visit an old person or a single person and make them feel special. Tell them that you appreciate them, give them a card or a gift, take a plate of eats to go with tea and spend some time together . While you are there ask if there is anything that needs fixing or that you can help with – things they may find difficult to accomplish on their own – be a blessing. (This is something we learnt from the Maxwell family!)
9. Bake cakes or cookies and take them to your neighbours along with a card on Christmas or Easter celebrating Christ’s birth or Christ’s death and resurrection. No strings attached – just a blessing and a way to reach out to them. The Maxwells are so good at this.
10. If a sibling, or mom or dad are not well, encourage the children to bless that person by serving them, bringing them what they need, making food for them, making a get well card for them or just spending time with them.
11. Some of the money our children earn from fulfilling their responsibilities and doing their chores is put aside for giving. They choose how and what they’d like to give when enough money has been saved up e.g. tins of food for the homeless, a meal for someone, money to missionaries, gift for a friend, etc.
12. Support a missionary as a family – write letters to them and to their children.
13. Our 7 year old daughter loves to set the table for us for our weekly date night at home. She goes all out, puts candles and flowers out, makes us little cards and make it extra special.
Being a blessing to others brings such joy and gives our children a sense of purpose and of being part of something greater than themselves. We so want to be a family that blesses others!
“Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12v8