What's the big deal about Young Living

Forced Volunteerism

Recently, our church made a plea for young, able bodied men to volunteer to do some digging and heavy lifting on the church property to prepare the ground for and plant new sod, shrubbery, and trees.

 Since the work was needing to be done during the work week, it turned out that the only men who had volunteered were the retired gentlemen, most of them ages 70+.

I thought this was a good opportunity for my 13 year old son to burn some excess energy, do some good, and be in the company of his elders while he was at it.

I woke him bright and early the next morning and informed him of his new opportunity. He wasn't quite as optimistic about it as I was, and I may or may not have had to force him out of the car once we got to the work site.

As I drove away, someone handed him a shovel, and I saw him look around slowly before beginning to dig. I wondered throughout the day how he was doing and hoped he was having a good attitude about his work. When he got home later in the day, he grinched about the heat and the hard work and stated strongly that he did NOT want to go back the next day.

But bright and early the next morning, I woke him again and off we went. His grumbling didn't have as much gusto behind it as it did the day before, and when I dropped him off, he hopped out and went straight to digging.

He was very tired when he came home, and my husband praised him for his efforts, and I had his favorite meal waiting. I silently wondered if I had done the right thing,  forcing  him to go.

I needn't have wondered, though. The next time we went to church, one old man after another came to my son and slapped him on the back and shook his hand heartily. They talked about what a good, strong worker he was and thanked him for his contribution.

He stood a little taller that day. The look of pride on his face as he talked and joked with the old men made me proud of my son.

Sometimes we don't feel like doing the right thing, the hard thing, but it feels good after we do it.

You don't  feel  your way into a better way of  acting. You  act  your way into a better way of  feeling.

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  1. I love the last statement!

  2. An excellent lesson! Sometimes, we always don’t want to do things, but the payoff in the end is so worth it. What a lesson! You are one good momma for “strongly encouraging” your son to help out!!

  3. Yep – ditto the above comments. Love it!
    Love, Anne x

  4. Jennifer says:

    I think the way you went about this whole thing was completely correct. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go”, not “in the way he wants to go”.

    I’m so glad to hear he was encouraged and strengthened by his experience volunteering, and hope that it leads to a heart for service and ministry!

  5. What a fantastic lesson for your son!

  6. Good stuff, Connie! I will pray for opportunities like that for myself and my family.

  7. Sounds like your raising up a Godly Man!!! We should never shy away from hard work and I always try to teach my kids that:) Thanks for sharing this story:)

  8. Thank you for this reminder/encouragement. I volunteered my 8th grade daughter to help my 5th grade daughter’s teacher this week. Even though my 8th grader was fine when I told her, I still kind of wondered if I had done the right thing. I’m finding that I’m really struggling with how to ‘train’ my 13 year old. In so many ways, she has learned what I wanted her to. But now we are at a point where more and more decisions will be hers, and I want her to make them. But I also want to still guide her. Ah – it’s so hard! :)

  9. Great post! I have 3 boys and one is 12 yrs old… I will be looking for opportunities like this for him. I love the cross generational aspect of this volunteer work. What a blessing for him and for those older retired men!

  10. I recently forced my 13 year old daughter to join our youth group in helping do similar wor in a nearby low-income neighborhood. She wasn’t pleased, either, but when it was over, she was glad she helped AND she had fun doing it.

  11. What a touching post. I bet your son was so proud of his efforts when those gentlemen complimented him. I can totally see my son being the same way — grumbling at first, but coming around and doing a good job. Great lesson.

  12. Oh I LOVE thinking about him working alongside the older men all day!! They are older and not as picky and persnickity about HOW things get done as younger fathers are. They were probably so proud of him and I know their opinion of him will forever be positive.

  13. Thank you for sharing. I know in my life there was something special about being “inducted” into the fellowship of manhood that made me want to be the person they all “thought” I already was. I am thankful for the cross generational relationships in my life and I know your son will be as well.

    It just goes to show that God knew what He was doing when He said that the older should teach the younger. We are all richer when we follow His plan.

  14. OMG! I LOVE to volunteer my boys for stuff!! I sent my 14 yo down to the neighbors to help him build his barn just for the learning experience! I talk about career choices with my DS but it really makes an impact when he does it for himself and another man tells him something! There are somethings a mom can not teach a son. I tried to explain to my 14 yo why we wanted a sawmill when we get a bigger place and he thought it was a crazy idea…then he used the neighbors and came home and told me we needed a sawmill and exactly how he wants to set it up!

  15. Awwww, I bet you were so proud of him for working hard also. Yay for the older men being so encouraging to him also.

  16. This was such an inspiring post! Thank you so much. I’ve been on a mission to change my habbits, mostly eating and excercise! YUCK!! I loved your last line, thanks again…. you remotivated me! =)

  17. I wholeheartedly believe in forced labor. Good work ethics are not contagious. They are engrained.

  18. Karen Pruneau says:

    I’ve done the same sort of thing, with my two sons this spring. Now I’m just waiting for more opportunites for forced volunteering. :)


  1. […] We try to give him plenty of opportunities to spit and chop and fish and dig and drive tractors with my husband and other men. If there is a call at church for volunteers to help with moving furniture or chainsawing, we sign him right up. […]