Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | March 17, 2009

Teaching your children to care for others

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 Jesus refers to this as the second greatest commandment, after loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, which he explains as the greatest commandment. Loving your neighbor as yourself can seem like a huge challenge, some days more than others. When Jesus says “neighbor”, he doesn’t just mean the people who live one doorway away from you, but he means everyone who you encounter. Wow, I could really get better at this one! I have tried to demonstrate loving others for my children to learn from, and sometimes my children have even helped me to do it. Here are some simple ways to let your child learn to love others and help you love others too:

  • Make dinner for a family who is hurting in some way. Your child can help you make the dinner and deliver it.
  • Invite people who do not have family nearby to holiday gatherings. Have your child help make an invitation for the people you want to invite, or a card for when they arrive.
  • Give food to a food bank or church collection. Have your child buy the food with you, or carry some of the canned goods to the donation area with you.
  • Visit people who are homebound. Let your child join you as you go for your visit.
  • Help your children put their tithes toward a goal, such as buying a gift for a needy family/child at Christmas.
  • Do something to help a friend in need, such as shovel their driveway when it snows, or help them move mulch, or bring in their groceries. My children have watched their father do things like this for others, and it always makes such a big impression on them. It is love in action.


  1. Amen, Cathi!!! There is a ton of research that talks about the positive benefits to kids when they practice serving others with their family. Good good stuff. It’s another one of those things that people sometimes leave to the church to do with their kids, which is only second-best. I loved your examples!!!

    • Thanks Sue!

  2. […] (a soup kitchen that First Trinity sends volunteers and food to every other month).  And I read Cathi’s recent blog post where she talks about raising caring children. It’s got me revved up today about the power […]

  3. Though many years have gone by, I still remember the Thanksgiving Day that we “passed” on the big family gathering; and instead, we (my husband, 8 year old daughter and myself) worked in the Lamplighter soup kitchen (Niagara Falls NY) the whole day. My daughter often recalls the caring person (in charge of the kitchen) who sent left-over mashed potatoes and fixin’s home with many a mother (for their children’s next day meal). Experiential learning was important…..built on the foundation of love and respect for (all) others.

  4. What an important impact those memories must have made on your daughter! Thank you for sharing.

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