Little Things Mean a Lot: Finding Small Opportunities to Do Good

In our online courses, we talk about the importance of modeling our message and of finding ways to volunteer our time for the greater good. Volunteering can be a challenging topic for some of our students. “I’m already overwhelmed with everything in my life,” they say. “I want to volunteer, but I don’t see how I can squeeze it in.” The struggle of finding ways to be of service was a recurring and passionate conversation in one of our recent online courses. Participants felt guilt about “not doing enough” for others. How could they model a message of kindness and service while staying on top of the seemingly thousands of to-dos crowding their daily lives? Mary Pat Champeau, our Director of Education and instructor for that course, had some great advice:
In my experience, just being aware of opportunities and the desire to pitch in can lead to possibilities that might be sporadic and/or unusual but help contribute to a feeling of "service" in a household. I also think we might expand our definition (within ourselves) of what volunteerism IS and can be in today's world, and use things we already do (make an extra pot of soup for a friend, weed an extra garden for an elderly neighbor, buy an extra pair of mittens for someone else's child) to help children see how their every day actions can include a little dose of generosity!

One participant recounted a terrific example of finding small opportunities to do good while unknowingly modeling her message of compassionate action. On her way driving home from work during very snowy conditions, she stopped to give a teacher a ride to the train station – a bit out of the way, but not a big inconvenience and helpful to the teacher. After she dropped off the teacher, her son said:

“That was nice.”

I said, “What was nice?”

His response: “What you just did. That was nice.”

You think they’re not listening or noticing, but they are. Our actions DO speak louder than words.

If you don't have time in your life right now for bigger volunteer opportunities, then look for the little things you can do for those around you.

Do you have stories/ideas of your own small opportunities for doing good and modeling your message? Please post them in the comments; we'd love to hear them!

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of troja.

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