My 85-year-old father recently sent me a fascinating book by Tom Brokaw titled The Greatest Generation. I was immediately taken by stories of those from the Great Depression and the Second World War; especially how his generation really did shape the world we live in today.
The synopsis of the book states "this generation was united not only by a common purpose, but also by common values-duty, honor, economy, courage, SERVICE, love of country, and above all, responsibility for oneself."
My father is a great example of these fabulous traits. He served in the navy during World War II and raised us seven children with the premise that life is a beautiful place when you learn to serve.
Even at his age, he still practices serving others. He volunteers at the local food bank, sings at the nursing home for the "old folks" and continues to practice what he preaches to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My parents and their seven kids at a recent family reunion
I realize I am very lucky. When a parent models a life of service to others it is bound to rub off on the next generation. From all the great values my father has taught me, the one I am most proud of is continuing his legacy of service with my own children.
I take my children to play music in nursing homes on a regular basis. We have volunteered side by side with my father at the food bank, teaching my children that good people endure hard times, and that serving others in any way we can is not only good for the soul, but in my opinion, our community and our country.
I recognize that the word "service" comes with anxiety for some. They feel that they do not have the time, the skill set, the money, or the personality to serve. I would challenge everyone rethink how to be of service to others. Many times it doesn't take any time, money or effort to serve.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Smile at the lady at the DMV and thank her for HER service.
- Drive an elderly neighbor to the store when you have to go anyway.
- Use your talents and gifts (for example, music, artistic ability, dance, good listening skills, etc.) and share them with others. This is SERVICE!
What are your ideas on serving others?
Amidst the challenges we live in today, we can and should continue to strive to honor the generation of my father by continuing to teach our children about service and more importantly, model how we can live a life of service, every single day.
by Jen Slayden