There is a movement in today’s parenting culture to raise self-sufficient kids. I see advice all over about getting kids to do their own things, make their own lunches, and take care of all their needs all on their own. I agree parents should foster independence in their kids but why is the movement to abandon serving our children so popular?

By being overly focused on raising self-sufficient kids, are we devaluing servitude?

Could this even lead to more selfish kids who only take care of themselves and never lend themselves in servitude to others?

As a Christian parent, I wonder if I should buy into the parenting view that kids should be totally self-sufficient. If I do buy into it, what am I teaching my kids? Am I devaluing the importance of portraying gracious service to my kids?

I am left confused. Did Jesus not serve?

I think there is more value in teaching servitude by example to our kids than by forcing them into a state of self-sufficiency.

Jesus was not above serving others, in fact, he glorified in it. According to the Bible, Jesus felt there was honor in serving, so as a mom to three kids I’m left wondering why I should buy into the whole self-sufficient kid movement and refuse to serve my kids?

In serving my kids, I’m starting to feel guilty these days because the trend is we must make our kids into self-sufficient kids. They must stand on their own two feet and do it all on their own. The message is heavy and absolute: this is the only way they will succeed in life.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I enjoy serving my kids. 

When I’m busy, overloaded with tasks, and overwhelmed I find it hard and stressful to serve my kids. I will ask them to help or get their own food in those moments. However, when times are more relaxed I love to serve them. I love to give my kids their favorite foods all placed neatly on a plate. The joy I see on their faces when I do serve them a plate of desired food warms my heart. When I see that smile, I know why I serve my kids because I enjoy it; it makes them feel loved and cared for.

Most importantly, I serve my kids because I want to be more like Jesus. I want to show my kids how important it is to try and be more like Jesus. I want them to see there is glory in serving.

Isn’t that what all Christians strive for in their faith? To be more like Jesus? Since as Christians we all strive to be more like Jesus, we should serve more, not less.

I serve my kids because I am their mom and that is what moms do. Not that they never get their own glass of milk, not that they couldn’t do food prep themselves, but because I enjoy taking care of my kids. I’m not their slave, but taking care of my kids includes feeding them and giving them nourishment. It means showing them I care by serving them and it shows I have time for them; they are important. Serving shows them they are a priority in my life because they are my top priority.

Why is there such a movement towards self-sufficiency? I’ll tell you why—because parents may fear if their kids aren’t self-sufficient, then they must be lazy. No one wants lazy kids. But what about showing love through serving? When did serving become such a bad word? When did serving someone come to mean the person served is lazy?

I think of serving as lathering my kids up with love. Buttering up their evenings to give a golden stack of childhood memories of my face as I hand them their plate of a favorite meal of spaghetti and garlic bread. Yes, I topped his plate with the Parmesan cheese. Could he have done it himself? Of course he could have, but then I would have missed out on serving him. I would have missed out on his smile as I handed him the heaping plate of food. I would have missed that look in his eyes confirming he knows he is loved by me.

Call me a bad mom and shame me for serving him something he could have done on his own. I call it love.

Just because I make my kids a lunch or bring them a plate of food does not mean my kids are lazy. It doesn’t mean next time I won’t ask them to get their own plates ready. It doesn’t mean my kids aren’t self-sufficient. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to do it himself.

It means I love my kids. I want to show them my love by serving them, just as Jesus served, I want to serve as well.

As parents, when did we all decide it’s better not to take care of our kids anyway? When did we decide that helping them is bad?

I want to serve my children as much as I can before each goes off to college because I get to every day now. I get to make his favorite foods. I get to create his perfect plate and hand it to him with a smile. Soon he will be off on his own to make all his own meals anyway, but no matter what age he is, I will always serve him. In serving my kids, I’m teaching them how to care for another person. I am teaching them servitude. I’m teaching them to be like Jesus.

Other parents may call me weak catering to my kids. Go ahead, say it. I know serving my kids means to love and my kids know it too. I’m teaching my kids a valuable lesson by example, by serving them. I’m also teaching them there is value in serving the ones we love.

Serving others should not be looked down upon. If Jesus thought serving others was important, how can we as Christian parents today label serving our kids as bad? Why has having self-sufficient kids who get it all done on their own become such a glorified notion?

Why do we as parents today not place more value on teaching the humility, kindness, and care-taking skills taught by servitude?

We should be leading by example by serving our kids as Jesus served others, not by always glorifying kids must do it all on their own.

Let’s honor Jesus, the most ultimate and gracious servant, and let’s just serve our kids.

Julie Hoag

Julie Hoag is a freelance writer and blogger, wife, and mom to three busy boys, & fur mama to two rescue dogs and two guinea pigs. She writes on her blog about motherhood, kids, family, recipes, DIY, travel, and faith. She is a vegetarian who loves to cook and create recipes when she’s not driving her three boys all over town to sports practices in her crumb-filled minivan. In her past life she has worked as a Scientist and Medical Data Manager, a pediatric nurse, and a SAHM. She loves to volunteer in her kids’ schools and help fundraise money for their schools. She is a Christian who loves nature, animals, traveling, gardening, swimming in her pool, and simply spending time with her family. Her favorites are dark chocolate, red wine, and cheese with yummy bread.