Along with nearly every person on the planet, teens search for meaning and a sense of purpose in life. While they occupy themselves with school, they look for other ways to fill their time, ways that bring satisfaction and an intrinsic sense of well-being.
Some young people find purpose through involvement in sports, music, and many hobbies. However, not all teens feel enough passion to engross their free time in healthy hobbies.
Teens can get bored very easily and sometimes channel their energy into unhealthy activities because of it. Many parents find it difficult to figure out the best ways to keep their adolescent busy.
One option, often overlooked by parents, meets the requirements for healthy activities and promotes strong character development for teens – volunteering.
Service projects provide numerous character traits that will benefit your child throughout his or her life.
Character Traits Development
Young people learn many wonderful character traits through serving others. Just some of these qualities include:
Resilience and persistence
Teaching teens the ability to be persistent, despite difficult odds will help them persevere through the most difficult circumstances. Nearly all successful people overcome one or more huge obstacles in life prior to achieving their goals. Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln battled nearly insurmountable odds before rising to the top of their fields.
Your child might appreciate these or similar stories of overcoming adversity. In addition, make it personal by telling your own story and modeling an example of persistence.
Teen volunteers learn to follow through with their promises by simply showing up. Whether they serve at a soup kitchen, nursing home, homeless shelter, school, or house of worship, they will learn the importance of keeping their word.
Valuing the individual
Each person holds intrinsic worth and has precious value. While our teens know this in their heads, they might not have had a chance to walk out serving the less fortunate in the community – the homeless, the elderly with no one to visit, or disadvantaged children who struggle in school. They will find that as they serve, the person that they reach will give back to them in ways they probably did not expect.
Working with others
Throughout their lives, people need to learn to cooperate and work with others, even those who differ from them in some of the most basic ways. Instead, they can focus on commonalities as they work toward the same goals.
As they interact with many types of people, young people will learn to appreciate the unique contribution that each person brings to the plate.
With so much emphasis on entitlement in society and in the news, parents look for ways to teach their children how to step outside of their selfish wants and desires.