Danielle Page, 11, helps other girls find dresses for Christmas and Easter. Over the span of three years she has assisted 300 girls from infant to teenager by matching them with a gown for the holidays. She and her mother run Danny’s Dress Drive, an organization dedicated to helping less fortunate girls. “It feels good to give back and seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces,” said Danielle, a sixth-grader at Pike School in Andover, Massachusetts.
Families serving their communities make a difference. But they don’t come about accidentally. Through intentional acts, selflessness, and commitment they are built … and we are all the better for it.
Author Dave Stone is the senior pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also a husband, father of three, and a strong advocate for joyful families who make a positive difference. In his new Faithful Families series (from Thomas Nelson Publishing) he offers some hard truths and hopeful instruction about how your family can join others in the world of service.
The first component to becoming a servant family is tending to the individual members. In the book Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord, Stone develops positive, proactive actions to build a solid foundation for each child. He notes the vital role parents play in the development of their children’s faith and attitudes toward service. “Want to transfer your faith into your kids’ lives? Then live it. Do it. Obey it.” These instructional words are the thrust of a discussion built around authenticity, realness, consistency, and example. Children are ever observant. They know genuineness. To build a family of service you need children who love and value others. To raise children who love and value you need parents who daily model their faith.
Pastor Stone moves the conversation forward in his second book, Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, & Laughter. He details the importance of developing a unique central focus for each family built around the passions held by its members. “A clear vision for the family, repeated and woven into the fabric of daily life,” he says, “results in joy, direction, and confidence.”
Such a mission statement allows a family to examine daily choices, selecting those options that align best with their broader calling. This practice helps children and parents alike to identify successes and build confidence. Pastor Stone describes the process as follows, “Find your passion as a family. Passion leads to purpose. Purpose grows into mission. Mission results in joy.”
A confident family built around a joyous mission places the spotlight on others and cannot help but have a positive influence on its community. This may take the form of labors of love, volunteerism, or outreach, but as Stone describes, it can also be in the way the family conducts itself. “… sometimes service is simply the act of honoring others above yourself. It may be as simple as listening instead of talking, or leaning in instead of spouting off.”
Building a family with the heart of service is not an easy task. It begins with parents who are willing to look in the mirror and choose to consistently live the faith they espouse as a daily example for their children. A mission statement built around the family’s passions will focus their collective efforts. The pervading sense of purpose combined with shared successes results in confidence and joy. Danielle Page is a sixth-grader who, with her family, is making a difference in the lives of others. Dave Stone in his books Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord and Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, & Laughter shows us how this can be a reality in our families as well. “When you serve with your family,” he concludes, “you make memories that will last forever.”
|FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY! Common Flame received a few advanced copies of "Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord" and "Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, & Laughter" by Pastor Dave Stone. We will be happy to ship you a copy of each at absolutely no cost! Here’s how you might win: Over the next few days (while our supplies last) post your thoughts on how you and your family can make a difference in others through your normal everyday lives. The most positive, inspirational comments as determined by Common Flame will win a free book! Good luck!|