A Life of Service

Shadow of a school boy holds up cross and Fertile Heart RSHE book

A Life of Service

It is coming up to a year since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and no doubt her anniversary will be marked both publicly and privately.  We will recall the solemn vow she made to dedicate her whole life “whether it be long or short” to the service of the country and the Commonwealth. At the coronation of King Charles back in June, ‘service’ was again at the forefront.  From the opening words in Westminster Abbey to the speech by Prince William at Windsor Castle, the King’s commitment to service was made clear. Indeed, the Big Help Out was both an invitation and a reminder that the call to service is for all of us, not just those in positions of leadership and authority.

As Christians, this is a fundamental part of our faith, for we have Jesus as our example; “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve “ (Mt 20:28) and at  A Fertile Heart we see this as one of the key elements of authentic relationship education.  To have a fertile heart is to love, grow and make a positive difference. Service, in all its forms, is an integral part of making that positive difference.

For many of us, service and our employment are linked.  Whether we work in one of the ‘caring professions’ or in business or industry, the police service or the armed forces, we will be providing a service designed to benefit others. In addition many of us choose to help out in other ways, by volunteering, supporting charities or simply by being good neighbours. Asbeiling or running a marathon may be impressive, but they aren’t for everyone; small acts of kindness such as dropping off a prescription or popping in for a chat with an elderly neighbour should never be underestimated!

While we probably won’t use the word ‘service’ with our children, we can teach them to be ‘of service’ from a very early age, by encouraging them to be helpful, kind and considerate and to make a positive difference by their words and actions. Naturally this will begin at home, but later will include school, church and the local environment. With greater maturity will come both an awareness of the wider world and its complex issues – poverty, hunger, and disease, climate change, wars and natural disasters – and a desire to help.

In A Fertile Heart the thread of service, of making a positive difference, runs through our entire curriculum. To illustrate, here are just a few examples. After reflecting on the story of Creation, we encourage Reception children to see themselves as God’s loving gardeners. In Y1 the children learn from Mary’s Magnificat about God’s care for the poor and the hungry. In Y4 children are asked to think of ways that they can make a positive difference in their communities and in Y6 they are helped to think through ways that they can help to protect the earth. In Y10 we encourage young people to think more about social fertility, the common good, reflecting on the words of St Teresa of Calcutta:  “Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.” In Y11 we use Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si to develop the sense of purpose and responsibility our young people will need when facing the challenges of living sustainably, for the good of others and the health of the environment.

To follow the example of the Servant King is both a challenge and a privilege.  At A Fertile Heart  we  invite and enable children and young people to share in this vision to serve God and each other.

So let us learn how to serve
and in our lives enthrone him,
each other’s need to prefer
for it is Christ we’re serving.

(The Servant King , copyright 1983 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music , P.O. Box 75, Eastbourne)

A big thank you to Kath who uses her knowledge, faith and expertise to bring us these great blogs!

Find out more about A Fertile Heart and even sample some of our resources under the sections “What you need to know” and “Our Curriculum”.