“Well done is better than well said.”
— Benjamin Franklin
When I started my challenge on the day after Christmas 2010, I wanted to give my time with intent to help someone, everyday. That way I could make a small and positive difference in the world, everyday.
In that spirit, I’d like to give you a list of ten simple things that you can do to make a difference, today and everyday.
- Do what you normally don’t do domestically. – The simplest things are right in front of us. If you don’t cook in your family, cook tonight. If you don’t do the dishes, do the dishes tonight. If you don’t clean the house, clean the house tonight. If your child is responsible for cleaning their room, clean it for them. Basically, do something domestic for your child or your spouse that you don’t normally do.
- Buy a McDonald’s gift card and stick it in your pocket. – It takes only a little time to go get the card and you don’t have to eat there if you don’t want. But if you keep that card in your pocket all the time, the next time you see someone who could use a meal, you can help.
- Pick up some trash in your neighborhood. – It takes some gloves, a trash bag and 15 minutes or less and you could be preventing a cut on a child’s finger or getting rid of an ugly liquor bottle. Plus you get exercise.
- Bring your spouse a cup of coffee or your child a glass of juice. – Everyone appreciates being served once in awhile.
- Write a letter to a soldier or a sick child – You can signup with Adopt A Soldier and they’ll send you a military address. Or, you can send a child a get well letter through Post Pals. There are many similar organizations, perhaps in your area. You don’t have to write anything profound, just write to wish someone well. Letters can be magic.
- Thank everyone you meet for something specific they’ve done for you. – Every bit of appreciation we receive is golden. You can hand out gold today.
- Read aloud to your child or read for the sake of humanity. – If you’ve got children, I know of few other experiences where the child and the parent are equals, except at story time. If you don’t have young children, why not record part of a classic novel so it can be enjoyed by a blind person? Librivox is a site dedicated to preserving literature through audio.
- Micro-volunteer! – Sparked.com is one of my favorite sites. Signup and help a non-profit in just a few minutes. Sometimes it’s as easy as proofing a document or brainstorming ideas. Other times, you can use your web design, copy-editing or fund-raising skills. It’s all quick, fast and can be done from your computer.
- Push a shopping cart. – How many times have you gone to a store and watched as some guy walks across the parking lot to retrieve a lost cart. As you walk into a store, push a cart yourself and save that guy a trip.
- Listen, don’t speak. – Don’t give your opinion today. Just listen to everyone and everything. We all need to be heard from time to time. Give your ear to anyone who wants it.
- Shut off the TV for 30 minutes. – Shut off the stereo, shut off the computer. Shut off anything that makes you passive. Then just think. Not about anything in particular. Let your brain wander around for awhile. Let it come up with a great idea on how to make a difference. Our brains are wonderfully creative if we just give them a chance to think. … And once you’ve got a simple idea to give your time, do it!
It’s Leap Day, so leap into action and make a difference today.
Did the dishes and made an extra trip to school so my son could turn in an assignment on-time.
Nice article! Lots of very easy ways to make a difference in your world. I’ll do my best to implement some of them. Some of them I already do. 🙂
Wonderful, Gary! Every time we give a little more or give a little better, together we make a stronger community.
Thanks for the good suggestions, Eric. I’ll check out the websites you mentioned as well.
Thanks, David! As I read your posts about intentional kindness, I’ve been picking up ideas as well. It’s one of the great values of community – learning from each other.