The Importance of Instilling Service in Your Children

Since I was young, my parents instilled in me the act of service. It’s something I have been mindful to instill in my children, as well. Maybe it was our Catholic upbringing or the fact that our school required “service hours” every year. Either way, I’m grateful for both. My parents always reminded me there was someone else who didn’t have what we had.

Service doesn’t mean you have to go find the nearest soup kitchen and serve there for a few hours, although I loved all the weekends we would go serve at one. I remember weekends when my mom would take me to a friend’s house, and we would all ride together to the soup kitchen. Every Thanksgiving, before we ate, we would go serve. It was a family tradition — one that I hope to one day do with my own children.

Showing your children acts of empathy and service is as simple as paying for someone else’s drinks when you’re in line at Starbucks, saving pennies at a time for them to collect to give to those in need, spending time with the elderly and doing something special for them (even if it’s a simple piece of artwork) at the assisted living homes. At our school, we do clothing and food drives for those who are in need, and my kids love being able to pick something from the store for those drives. During the holiday season, we always volunteer to take all the gifts from our Angel trees to their destination. It helps remind my kids that there is always someone less fortunate, and we always need to help provide for something.

One time we were on vacation buying donuts at a vendor at the farmers market. There was a mom who looked flustered because she couldn’t pay for the donuts she had ordered, and the vendor looked very annoyed. When it was my turn, I asked what she had ordered and asked to pay for it with my order. The vendor thanked me, and I walked away. The mom didn’t need to know that I paid for her, but as I walked away, I overheard the vendor tell her that her order had been taken care of. My kids looked at me and it started a wonderful conversation about why we do things for others and how we don’t have to take credit for everything. We do it from the heart.


There are plenty of ways to help instill service in children, whether it’s by donating your time or by donating items. Find a place that’s close to your heart and show your children what we can do to help others.

Here are a few local places that we have helped serve throughout the year.

Foster Closet: There are many ways to help at, including helping to fulfill a few Christmas Wish Lists.

BEAM: Learn more about how you can help Jacksonville’s low-income Beaches communities at

St. Francis Soup Kitchen: Help out this volunteer supported and operated soup kitchen at

Jacksonville Humane Society: Animals need love and support, too! Find out how you can help at

USO of Greater Jacksonville: Learn more about how you can help the active-duty military population at

Women’s Center of Jacksonville: Help improve the lives of women through advocacy, support and education. Learn more at

Family Promise of Jacksonville: There is much you can do to help homeless families and their children — find out more at

In what ways do you try to instill the act of service in your children? Comment with some of your favorite local charities!

Patricia Kozack is a professional makeup artist, wife and mom to two kids. Her days are spent wrangling the kids, being a mom taxi, and getting a workout in on the tennis courts. Her weekends are spent beautifying clients for their weddings and events.  She is obsessed with all things beauty related and cannot wait to share her niche of the world with Jacksonville Mom. Check out her site Makeup by Tricia.


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