Earlier this year we shared the idea of creating a Seva Jar for the month of April as a Vaisakhi activity for the family. So many of you were interested in trying the idea, so we thought we would bring it back with a summer twist. Are you up for the challenge of creating a Summer Seva Jar?
Before we get started, here’s a quick reminder on the concept of Seva, and a conversation starter for the kids:
What is Seva?
Seva means selfless service in Punjabi. It means to do something for someone without the expectation of reward or recognition in return. Some common examples of seva in Sikhi are serving langar at Gurdwaras, donating money to charities, or spending time with the elderly.
Seva is important because it allows us to connect with others. It’s also aligned with one of the three pillars of Sikhi created by Guru Nanak, which is Vand Chhako (which means to share with others).
How to create your Summer Seva Jar
Choose any simple jar that you like. We picked up this glass one from the Dollar Store. If you’d like to decorate it feel free too, but no pressure. Seva should never be stressful!
Sit together as a family and brainstorm ideas to fill the jar (grab your printable slips here), or you can let everyone think of ideas over a few days and start to fill the jar up.
Once you’ve got a few ideas in the jar make a plan for how you will approach completing the seva. Will you pull one each week? Or maybe you’ll just do them ad hoc as you find the time. Or how about including the grandparents in taking part? Whatever you decide, remember the idea isn’t to overextend yourself or stress yourself out. It’s just to get the family thinking about how they can incorporate seva into their everyday lives.
Here are some prompts to get you started. While many are similar to ideas we’ve shared in the past, we’ve also included some summer specific prompts.
- Draw pictures for seniors at a local senior’s home and add heartfelt messages to them.
- Go through your closet and take out lightly used clothes that you don’t want to wear anymore. Make sure they are in good shape. This is a great time of year to donate backpacks, jackets, and winter boots. Many families will need these for back to school and will be looking out for them over the summer.
- Put out a dish of water for birds in the backyard.
- Drop off water bottles at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
- Offer to mow the lawn for an elderly neighbor.
- Donate to a charity that has a mission and vision that you connect with
- Donate to your local food bank
- Donations to a local shelter (pet shelters are also a good idea!)
- Plant a tree
- Pay it forward in the drive thru line up
- Putting coins in an expired parking meter
- Picking up garbage on your street
- Leaving a positive google review on a local business
- Leave letters of encouragement on strangers’ cars
- Give a family member a care package
Remember, seva is an act of selfless service without the expectation of a reward. You don’t have to do all of them and certainly not right away! Pick what works for you and spread it out throughout the year. Acts of seva should be fun, not stressful!