Recently, I have been thinking of two things: how we teach our children to think of others and how we train ourselves to do the same thing.
In a Bible study for parents my friends are doing, the author prompted them to teach their children to ask “What needs to be done here?” when they leave a room or enter it.
“What needs to be done here?” forces the speaker to think how they can contribute to the overall effort of the family to keep the house, of a group to prepare for a meeting, or simply to help another person complete a task. What needs to be done could be picking up, doing dishes, opening the door for someone, or offering to help with an ongoing effort.
Asking “What needs to be done here?” also teaches that someone must step up to solve problems and that person is often you. Be courageous and ask, “What needs to be done here?” even if that thing is out of your comfort zone. Be someone who contributes and not someone who only takes.
Yesterday, the teacher of my Bible study group told us to ask ourselves “How can I show love in this situation?” Like the previous question, it forces the speaker to look beyond themselves and ask what someone else needs. Answering this question honestly means placing the needs of the person before you above your own. It means working towards loving someone else when we may feel like reacting in the exact opposite way.
Something our children, and some adults still, need to be taught is that it is not all about them. In fact, it never is. This path we are on is about others. It is about how we can best show love to other people. This is the thing Jesus asked of us. He told us to love God and love others.
He did not say love when it was convenient, when we were being loved in return, or when we would get something out of it. He just said to love.
Next time you are in a situation with anther person and you are unsure what to do ask, “How can I show love in this situation?” or “What needs to be done here?” and then have the courage to respond.