I used to keep this quote on my desk at work: “What am I to do? I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good work, therefore, any kindness, or any service I can render to any soul of man…let me do it now. Let me not neglect or defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
It’s an old Quaker saying and I was thinking about it today.
More specifically, I was reflecting on how much (or how little) time I spend thinking about others. I wondered to myself, “Do I get so wrapped up in my day and all that needs to be done that I forget to reach out to friends, acquaintances, and strangers?“
I want my daughter to see compassion, to embrace it, to believe in it. I want her to notice when people are suffering and to think up ways to ease their pain. Deep down, I know – with absolute confidence – that she will only do these things and be these things if she sees them in me. This is one of the ultimate truths of parenting and one that is incredibly humbling.
So, I want to commit to do at least one good deed a day. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – perhaps just sending a postcard to a friend or baking cookies for a local school or opening the door at the store for a mom with her hands full or bringing my new neighbor a housewarming present (that has been on my to-do list for a week!). Just little ordinary things that change the world.
I’m sure I’ll be getting some of my ideas from The Good Deed Guide: Simple Ways To Make The World A Better Place by James and Lisa Grace (Quirk Books, 2003). It’s a handy little square-shaped book with sturdy pages and simple illustrations. The guide is divided into four sections – Doing Good With First Aid, Doing Good for Friends and Neighbors, Doing Good for Strangers, and Doing Good for Your Community. The ideas are “how-to’s”…how to treat a child’s skinned knee, how to visit someone in the hospital, how to give good directions, etc. Some of the items are commonsense and there isn’t anything particularly “new” here, but – overall – I found the book to be clever and good-hearted. I’d like to see more books on this topic.
YOUR TURN: How do you teach your child(ren) about compassion and charity? What simple things do you do WITH your baby/toddler/kids to help others?
WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of The Good Deed Guide: Simple Ways to Make the World A Better Place by James and Lisa Grace. To enter, leave a comment on this post prior to Thursday, June 26 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
*UPDATE* The winner is #6 Theresa J. Congratulations!