Bring on the Sunshine
By Cami Checketts –
Serving others brings sunshine into our very souls and health to our bodies. Jesus gave us the greatest example of serving our fellowmen. I suppose part of the joy that comes from serving is because we are acting as Jesus would.
I’m always searching for ways to teach my four sons to serve each other and serve others. They love to play outside and be active so we try to combine making opportunities to serve… and get some exercise. The following list includes a few of our favorite ways to do both:
1 – Going to the park. We love riding our bikes to the park and bringing our baseball mitts, lacrosse sticks, or a soccer ball. The little ones play on the play-set while the big guys work on improving their skills with their favorite sports, and we all enjoy some great family time. When we have the chance, we bring neighbor or family members’ children to give the parents a break and do a little service.
2 – Yard work. Sometimes it’s hard to convince the boys that this is fun, but we usually make it through once they get in the spirit of it. Gardening also burns almost three hundred calories per hour and if you plant vegetables you’ll be blessed with healthy and inexpensive food. It’s especially fun if we can help others with their yard work or share the produce from our garden. Last spring our nine-year-old came up with the idea to pick all the peas in the garden and take them to elderly people who couldn’t get out and grow their own vegetables. It was an unreal experience. The people were grateful for the peas, but even more grateful for a boy who took time to think of them.
3 – Going on visits. When it’s nice outside and we can ride bikes or scooters to visit the elderly or those who need a friend, it makes it much easier to get my boys excited about visiting.
4 – Nature walks. We love to walk around our area and appreciate the beauty the Lord has blessed us with: a newborn calf, wildflowers, frogs in the pond, sticks we can battle brothers with. Our world is so beautiful. And there are many opportunities to bond with family members when we get outside to enjoy them (except when the stick battle gets a little out of hand!).
5 – Hikes. We recently took our boys on a seven-mile hike through ankle-deep sand. It was miserable, but they were champions. They helped each other and they helped me have a good attitude. They talked about our ancestors who had to walk across the plains, and they reminded me that sometimes they were starving and dehydrated, but we had water and half a granola bar to share. It turned into a neat experience (that I don’t want to repeat soon!). We learned a valuable lesson: we need to be more prepared when we go on serious hikes (pack more than half a granola bar) and always keep a positive attitude.
These are just a few ideas that get our family outside, give us more opportunities to serve and bond together, and have fun. During this beautiful time of year, I pray we can all get out and enjoy the sunshine as well as share the sunshine with others.
What is your favorite outdoor activity? How can you incorporate service into these activities?