Giving time to neighbors and the community may not seem to fit in with having a healthy family. But the research shows that families who value service to others seem stronger than those who do not. What makes these families strong? Perhaps members of these families tend to focus more on others than on themselves. Within the family they help, support, encourage, and care for one another. Outside the family they serve their neighbors and the community.
Healthy families are caring and unselfish. They think that it is more important to help others than to gain wealth and status. They simplify their lifestyle, so that they can spend less time taking care of things and more time taking care of people. Members of these families see needs in their communities as a chance to enrich their own lives by helping others. Yet, they don't allow their acts of service to hurt their family life. They keep their volunteerism under control, so that they will still have plenty of time to nurture their own family.
Would your family like the opportunity to help others in the community? Here are a few ideas:
- Volunteer for a non-profit group
- Share your home with others
- Donate money, food, clothing or other items to a community service organization
- Help meet the needs of an elderly person or single parent in your neighborhood; 5) Support a cause that is important to your family
- Become involved in environmental or conservation efforts.
Regardless of the activity you choose, your family's service to others will also be a service to yourselves.
Source: Traits of a Healthy Family, by Dolores Curran, 1983, pp. 276-290.