Developing a Life of Service

Today's Guest Blog is brought to you by Braxton Brady. Braxton is the Chaplain and Director of the Building Boys, Making Men Program at the Presbyterian Day School in Memphis, Tennessee. He also writes about parenting on his blog, Strategic Dads.

Developing a Life of Service by Braxton Brady

I have two boys at home that have a typical brother relationship. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Not too long ago was one of those times that it didn't. The boys were playing outside when one of our neighbors called down and invited the boys to play in their yard. Needless to say they were excited to go. 

They began to run down the sidewalk together when my youngest son fell and scratched his knee. Being the dramatic child of our three, he began to cry and play it up for all it was worth. I would love to end the story by telling you that my oldest son stopped, helped his brother up, and gave him a great big hug. Instead, my oldest looked down at his hurting brother and then just kept running, leaving his brother crying and searching for help. Obviously, the potential fun in our neighbor's yard outweighed the desire to help a brother in need. 

Have you ever had an experience like that at your house? I am sure you have. The more I thought about that situation, the more I began to ponder how many times I do that in my life. Am I modeling a life of taking initiative for the benefit of others? I wish I could answer yes. My needs OFTEN outweigh the needs of others. We live in a selfish world that places importance on what we need as individuals. What would our world look like if we as parents decided to parent in a way that went against the trend. We might feel like we were spitting in the wind but I know at some point the wind would change direction. What would our world look like if we raised a generation of children that started taking initiative for the benefit of others?

What part of your parenting framework involves developing in your kids a life of service? Our family mission statement gives us a common vocabulary that we can use to help remind our family that we are about taking initiative for the benefit of others. That can be used in small tasks and big issues. 

What are some common words or phrases that you use in your house to help develop service? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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  1. In our family, we use the concept of honor to cultivate a heart for service. The Bible talks a great deal about honoring others and we have added this to our family values. Actually, I'm listening to Dr. Scott Turansky and my wife Joanne talk about this right now at a seminar in Rowlett, TX!

    We define honor as "Treating people as special, doing more than what's expected, and having a good attitude." Our kids really embraced this vision for honor. We were on vacation in December and our son Dave who is still living at home with us cleaned the whole house and purchased and put up the Christmas tree. We were very blessed and felt honored.

    Honor changes people!

  2. I so much wish I had been exposed to such wonderful parenting skills back in the eighties. This is especially true when I became a single parent in 1985.

    Braxton where were you then? (smile)

    I struggled just barely surviving the unwanted divorce let alone able to think about how to parent my kids. The Lord finally shook me awake in His ever so gently but not subtle way. But there wasn't much available to help me parent my kids alone. I wish "mission statements" had been popular and help creating a family mission statement had been available. But they are today and I will be passing along your helpful advice to the single parents I work with in today's society.

    Thank you.
    Linda Ranson Jacobs
    DC4K Creator and Ambassador
    Single Parent Advisor