WE’RE TEACHING THIS

Have you ever thought something worked one way, only to find it didn’t? Like maybe as a kid you thought the bathtub drain was a death trap. Then you learned it couldn’t actually suck you into the sewer and that was a game changer. Or maybe you were sure that the closet should be avoided because monsters lived there. Then you learned they didn’t. That changed your morning routine for sure. Any time you learn new information, it can turn your world upside down. Jesus had a habit of doing just that with the people closest to

Him. He often did or said things that were the exact opposite of what anyone expected. He’d take ideas that everyone agreed with, ideas that everyone would say, “Of course, that’s just the way it is,” and He’d flip them upside down. He would tell people to do the exact opposite of what they thought. This was especially true when Jesus talked about how we treat people, specifically people who like us, people who don’t, and people we don’t even notice.

THINK ABOUT THIS

By Jordan Biere
Community Christian Church, Naperville, IL

We all want to be better parents.

I’ve never met a parent who didn’t want the best for their children. In fact, we all have big dreams for our children. Regardless of whether they’re in diapers or they’re about to get their diploma, we do what we can to shape the future trajectory of our kids and set them up for success in life.

We enroll them in music lessons, traveling sports, tutoring classes, and competitions, and inspire them to get better at their unique talents, celebrating them all along the way. That’s what we do as parents, and it’s one of the best parts of the job.

When it comes to enriching the lives of my children, my first thought was to teach them a skill, enroll them in a sport,

or get them in private lessons until I met someone who did something so drastic and bold that it got me rethinking how we shape the future.

Kirsten was living the American dream: A six figure salary, married with two kids, and living in a city that receives rewards year after year for being the “best place to raise a family.” When her children were in the 3rd and 4th grades, she and her husband made a surprising decision to move to the much less affluent area of East Aurora. Here is her story in her own words.

We moved despite warnings from friends and family that we were sacrificing our children’s safety and education; not because we wanted to “save” East Aurora, but because we wanted to “save” ourselves and our children from materialism and economic/ cultural segregation.

Today my eldest son was accepted into both Yale and Stanford despite attending schools where less than 40% of students meet state standards.

Both of my sons have thrived academically and learned life-lessons beyond anything they could have experienced in Naperville. We have been richly blessed by living in East Aurora.

While few will be called to relocate to an under- resourced neighborhood, we can all make engaging with the outcasts and marginalized of society a priority in our lives.

What now? The reality is that many of us may not move out of our neighborhood and into a poverty-stricken area, but we can engage. We can…

• Serve.
• Show compassion.
• Treat others with dignity.
• Be a voice for the powerless in society.

Anytime we contribute or serve, our kids’ worldviews expand. Our kids’ faith grows, their relational intelligence and awareness increases, and a seed of generosity is planted. And, the same happens for us. Get connected to a wider community of parents at TheParentCue.org.

TRY THIS

Though they’d prefer to think otherwise, your teenager still watches you and follows your lead. If you model the way by making serving a priority, your children will be more inclined to make it a priority for themselves.

A quick Google search will present dozens of organizations in your town that do all of the hard work of coordinating service projects. They just need volunteers to help. This week, try finding one way to serve others in your community and make an appointment to do so. You could…

  • Volunteer at a local shelter.
  • Organize a local food pantry.
  • Help with a coat drive.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Hand out blankets to the homeless.
  • Mentor children in schools.
  • Become a respite foster family.

    However you choose to serve, be honest with your teenager about it. Tell him or her why you chose to serve and how you felt about it afterward. In doing so, you’re modeling that caring for others is a big deal to your family. And, the next time you go, your teen might just say “yes” when you invite them to come along.