Young girl raking leaves.

Even Very Young Students Benefit From Helping Others

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In a previous blog we pointed out two important things:

  1. In Matthew 25:31-35, Jesus said we are to serve the needs of others. 
  2. When young people serve others, they reap important benefits, measurable in future academic success. (Studies show that high school students who serve are more likely to go to college.)

Young girl raking leaves.But it’s not only older students and adults who benefit. Research conducted in Michigan on 2nd to 5th grade students showed that children who participated in service were better off in school. They showed greater levels of behavioral, affective, and cognitive engagement in school than their nonparticipating peers. Other benefits included putting more effort into assignments, paying better attention, completing homework on time, and sharing what they learned with others.

This research demonstrates some very important results:

  • youngsters who engage in helpful service to other people actually pay more attention in school and finish more homework on time,
  • they become more civically responsible,
  • and they share what they learn with their peers, passing on the benefits of their success with other students.

This means that all of us have an effective strategy available for helping even very young kids to not only do well in school but also to become helpful to others. This service stuff is contagious!

Let’s start today. As you go about your normal routine, keep your eyes open for opportunities where your youngsters might engage in activities to help other people.

(This article is part of a series on service. View:  <Previous  Next>)

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.