Service (Part 1)

25 Aug

What is service?

Service is generally understood in the context of one person literally serving another, such as a waitress serving a customer. Unfortunately, when it comes to service in a family setting, there are many parents who do indeed serve their children as if they were customers. This approach rarely works. In meaningful human relationships you find another side of service that has a subtle very important and significant difference.

Before I had my boys, I was involved with a spiritual community that incorporated an alternate way of thinking about service. My spiritual teacher believed that serving others enables the person doing the serving to grow spiritually and personally. After adopting this concept, I attempted to put it into play in my daily activities.

Service isn’t just about helping someone else (although that is big part of it). I believe true service entails consciously creating an atmosphere or situation in which both parties can genuinely understand and absorb the experience happening between them.

It is about discovering what a person truly needs or is interested in, and providing resources, energy and awareness to support their needs.

I thought I understood his message, but I didn’t really get it until I had my boys some 15 years later. During their early developmental years, I began to appreciate the value of service and the other side of service, not only for my personal growth, but also for its positive and lasting effect on my relationship with my children. Years of practice with my kids and in my adult relationships have given me a clear and positive understanding of the enormous benefits of service. It has helped shape every one of my relationships.

Next week I’ll be posting my continued thoughts on service and how we apply this concept to our family interactions.

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