Serving Others VS. Service to Others

5 Jun

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about service to our children}

Service is typically understood in the context of one person literally serving another, such as a waitress serving a customer, a valet retrieving your car, or gas station attendant at your local service station. In the context of meaningful human relationships, service has an entirely different meaning. It is not about simply doing something for somebody else, it’s much more than that. Unfortunately, there are many parents who do indeed serve their children as if they were customers; and this approach rarely works.

buildOn’s Chicago Curie High School students participate
in buildOn’s day of service at the YMCA on Touhy Avenue.
Photo courtesy of buildon_org

Serving others for personal growth

Before I had my boys, I was involved with a spiritual community that espoused a different way of thinking about service than I had imagined. My spiritual teacher explained that truly serving others (not service to others) enables individuals to grow personally, emotionally and spiritually. After accepting this concept, I tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to put it into play throughout my daily activities. I thought I understood his message, but I did not really get it until I started building relationships with my boys.

Service can be found in every relationship

During their early developmental years, I began to appreciate the value of service, not only for my personal growth, but also for its positive and lasting effect on my relationship with my boys. Now upon reflection, I understand what I learned more than 30 years ago! 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.

To read more posts in this series, come back to read How To Best Serve on June 7th.

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