During the holiday season, generosity and love abound. Whether it’s people being a bit more friendly, or donating money to charity, it makes the holidays joyful and happy. I encourage you to become more friendly and help others by performing community service.
For a long time, I was resistant to community service. Growing up in the LDS church, I was coerced into performing acts of service against my desires. These service activities were often to help miserable people who were ungrateful for our help. For instance, I remember helping clean up an estate of a former junk-horder, and the trustee didn’t even bother to show up. Although this service was helpful, as a youth I didn’t find any tangible benefits for waking up several hours earlier than I was used to in order to perform hard labor for several hours to someone who was ungrateful.
After I left the LDS church, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth concerning community service. However, over the past year or so, I began to reexamine my beliefs about community service. The instigation behind this was several books written by successful people, who all had a chapter about giving back. I figured that service wasn’t for me, because of my bad experiences. However, the more books I read, I had a creeping suspicion that perhaps I was mistaken.
I began to do small acts of service, mostly for my customers. I found that through being kind and thoughtful for others helped me to be more optimistic and friendly. Because of this, others began to treat me better, and my life improved.
Last month, my work began a charity fundraiser to help St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Because I’m a poor college kid, I knew that I wasn’t going to be much help donating my own money. However, I could be helpful. Through my work, I’ve been able to raise a significant amount of money (about $50 so far, a lot more than I could do by myself) as well as inspire my coworkers to raise money. So far, we have about $250 more donations than we did last year.
Through this fundraiser, I saw that the individuals who donated tended to be happier and more optimistic. Seeing them happy, helped raise my spirits as well. Through this effort, I’ve destroyed my old paradigm of community service, and replaced it with something much better.
Lately, I’ve been seeking out opportunities to serve others. Although I don’t think that I will spend a significant amount of time serving others, I am much more open to the idea than I was before.
One notion that I’ve adopted is the idea that community service doesn’t have to be free. Whether it’s generating more tips because I was more helpful to a customer, or generating ad revenue through putting ads on this blog, the benefits of serving others can have some monetary aspect as well.
The holiday season is a great time to experiment with community service. Opportunities to serve others abound this time of the year, and you should take advantage of them. I encourage you to experience the benefits of community service for yourself.
I would love to hear about your acts of service, and ideas on how to serve your community. As this is an area that I am just beginning to explore, I hope that I will become a much better person through community service. I will keep you updated on how it goes.