Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: service

Parenting Tip Series #2: Teach Your Kids to Serve

Near our house is a fairly steep hill.  There are lots of big trees beside the hill, but no houses, so no one is in charge of the sidewalk.  During the year leaves, dirt, and junk collect in the gutter.   It never really washes away because of the cement barriers that are next to the curb.  When our kids were young we started an annual tradition to clean “the hill”. With donned gloves, gathered shovels and brooms, and wheelbarrows we made it our job to clean out the gutter and haul away all the junk.  We tried to do this before school started in the fall so the neighborhood children could have a clean sidewalk on which to trek up to the elementary school.

Needless to say, not all our children thought this was a great idea.  Some of them wondered why someone else didn’t take a turn.  (To make it more fun—and less work—we did invite other families to participate in this project.)  But we just reminded them that we were strong and capable and since no one else was doing it, we would.

897 There were other projects our kids weren’t too keen on.  After large snowstorms my husband took our boys over to  a neighbor’s house to shovel her walk and driveway.  Since she lived on a corner, this was a rather large task.  But she was single and older, and my husband (and one or  other of the boys) was her home teacher, so it wasn’t up  for discussion.   Often our other neighbors would be gone  for the Christmas holiday so we would shovel their  driveway as well.  

Not all of our service projects involved so much hard work.  I was talking to one of my neighbors recently, and she reminded me that our family had washed their cars the night before their daughter’s wedding.  Occasionally we babysat someone’s kids while they went out. We  also served food for the homeless on Christmas eve, and took pipe chimes to the memory care unit to sing Christmas carols with them.

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What did we accomplish with all these random acts of service?  They say the proof is in the pudding, and about three years ago I had a wonderful validation of the value of  teaching our kids to serve through example.   I got a call from a neighbor who needed someone to be with her as she cleaned out her horse’s stall.   She was in the middle of a divorce and couldn’t be at the barn alone, due to hostilities with her spouse.   So she called me to see if I’d come talk to her while she mucked out the stall.  Unfortunately, I was out of the state.  “Not to worry,” I said.  “My twenty-five-year-old son is home and I’ll call him to run over.”   (Luckily he had worked at a horse barn when he was younger so it wasn’t totally out of his comfort zone.)  And he did it!!  He walked over and helped her out!!!

President Monson has spent a lifetime reaching out to “the one” and he is always encouraging us to do the same.  He counsels us:  

“To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves. No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow man. Service to others is akin to duty, the fulfillment of which brings true joy.”  -President Monson

When the kids were little, I taught them this poem:

“I have wept in the night

For the shortness of sight

That to somebody’s need made me blind;

But I never have yet

Felt a tinge of regret

For being a little too kind.”    (anonymous)

I hope that we taught our children that life doesn’t just revolve around themselves, but that others have needs that are just as important. I hope we taught them compassion, helping them to see that others might be suffering, or be lonely, or just need a little boost here or there.  I hope we taught them that it doesn’t hurt to give of your time and talents. Last of all, I hope they learned that they are always better off for having served.

Written by Phyllis Rosen

BYU/UVU Food Drive

web-art-1By Rebecca Hamson

The holiday season revolves around food in our society, yet there are so many people who have hardly any, let alone the excess that the rest of us are blessed with. Brigham Young University has teamed up with Utah Valley University, Community Action Services, and Food Bank to collect food and monetary donations for those living in impoverished circumstances in the Utah Valley.

The goal is to raise 60,000 dollars and 300,000 pounds of food. To reach this goal, there are events going on for the rest of November. There are also bins for non-perishable food drop-offs located throughout BYU campus and throughout Provo. The bins will be out until November 30. Money can be donated at businesses throughout BYU campus and at local businesses. The cashiers will most likely ask if you want to add an extra dollar to your total cost to donate to this cause. Every dollar donated can be made into five meals or fifteen pounds of food thanks to Community Action Services and Food Bank and their resources and influence. So, donate to a good cause this holiday season to benefit those that are right here in our own community.

BYU Merit Badge PowWow

 By Rebecca Hamson

Twice a year, Brigham Young University hosts a Boy Scouts Merit Badge PowWow which offers over 30 merit badge classes. Approximately 3,000 boys register for each session, and BYU students have the opportunity to volunteer as the merit badge counselors. This upcoming PowWow, which will be held on October 19th, will be my fourth. Obviously the service aspect is the most important reason to volunteer, but the free t-shirt is a great perk, not to mention the delectable breakfast complete with muffins, doughnuts, and chocolate milk. Possibly the best breakfasts I eat the entire school year.

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Adaptive Aquatics: A Fun Way to Serve

by Jaden Anderson 

Looking for a new and unique way to serve right here on the BYU campus? How does splashing around in the pool and singing Disney music with goggle-eyed kids sound? Well, that’s what you’ll find every Thursday and Friday morning from 11am to 11:45am at the Richards Building pool. Here, student volunteers can come spend some quality time with local special education children in an interactive program called Adaptive Aquatics.

Adaptive Aquatics is a chance for disabled children in nearby schools to swim and receive some much-needed one-on-one time with volunteer BYU students each week. Students can help children develop their cognitive, motor, and social skills. There are also gym activities available for those kids who cannot swim or would rather not. The children come from Alpine, Orem, and other elementary schools throughout Utah County. They each have disabilities ranging from learning and speech impediments to Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome.

Many BYU students have become involved with the program through Y Serve and report that they love the time they’re able to spend with the kids. According to the directors of the program, an average of 80 students with disabilities and 70 BYU students come to swim each Thursday and Friday. The directors estimate that around 300 or 400 volunteers come throughout the semester.

If this sounds like something you’d love to participate in for just one hour every Thursday or Friday for a semester, email adaptiveaquatics@byu.edu with your name and student ID for an Honor Code check. To get a glimpse of what Adaptive Aquatics is like, check out the video below or visit https://yserve.byu.edu/aquatics.