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Service Project for Kids: Clean the Church Building

*Note:  This post is intended to show that kids have the capacity to work to help others.  It doesn’t matter if it is a friend’s house, a gravesite, a creek, or a church building–each act of service helps them learn and grow.  By encouraging my boys to act on the ideas that they have to help others, they are learning to serve others, help others.  The fact that we are cleaning the church does not diminish or elevate that lesson.

After a conversation about the adults that help us all the time, my 6 year old decided to help serve our Bishop, a leader in our church, by cleaning the church.

I brought our smaller vacuum and cleaning wipes, which they told me they would need to clean the church building.  The boys were very excited.  They were following through on their own ideas to help others in their lives.  A very powerful experience in the process of learning to sacrifice to help others.
We first visited the Chapel in our building.  The oldest vacuumed.  The rest of us (the 4 year old and me) picked up the larger trash and started cleaning the door handles.

In the end, the boys happily cleaned for 45 minutes.  45 minutes of vacuuming, wiping, scrubbing, and all done quietly.  That has never before happened in the history of doing their own chores at home.  I was amazed.  They knew that they were doing an act of service in cleaning the church, and they respected that place in doing the service.  Just as they try to behave better when visiting a nursing home, they are recognizing when it is appropriate to run crazy and when it is appropriate to concentrate on a cleaning task at hand.

Later, my son dictated an email to our Bishop:

Dear Bishop,
We cleaned up the church building to help you out. We vacuumed the Chapel and the chairs. We wiped the door handles. We cleaned the water fountains.
Thank you for the service you do. Hope our cleaning helps you.
E* (the six year old)
Tips for Cleaning as a Family Service Project
Tips for Cleaning with Kids