Small Actions… Big Changes
This mantra now comes echoing back to us as we think about what we can do to make real change in the world. While 2017 was a FAB year for us in so many ways, we have felt helpless in other way and we wanted some tangible action we could take to make a difference. We want to give back. Make a difference. Take action and be the change. However you frame it for yourself… it is the same message: Actions we take right outside our own front doors have a huge impact on our global family. So, rather than picking a single charity or organization to support or give our dollars, we are starting a campaign of giving and supporting every day right outside our own front door. Our hope is that these small daily actions will lift up the recipients so they can go out and do things that will make the world a better place. Yeah… it’s some hippy-dippy, hand-holding, we-are-the-world sounding stuff… but okay… so be it. We know for a fact that it works so that’s good with us!
So what does this mean? We’re all busy people, right? Who has time to do something EVERY DAY… it’s a nice idea but let’s be realistic! Right? No… we don’t agree completely with that. Partially… but not completely… We believe wholeheartedly that any time you want to accomplish something extraordinary, you need to do something extraordinary to make it happen. Emphasis on the “extra.” But, yes, we do tend to get swept up in the daily to-do lists and the next thing you know it’s time to walk the Shibakidz and then we have to make dinner and return those emails and the bathrooms aren’t going to clean themselves and there’s that new post to write and HOLY CRAP when was that deadline again… GAH!!! Yup… life happens. So no, we’re not talking about digging wells or making afghans or sweaters for an entire shelter or giving 50% of your income to a local charity. But what about if we all made one afghan this year and gave it to a neighbor who needed some cheering up or who wasn’t having an easy time of life. What about if we made one hat and gave it to someone who looked cold. What if we bought one extra can of food every time we went to the grocery store (coupons!) and gave them to a local food bank or family in need at the end of the month? What if we all just took the time to smile and say hello to one person we passed on our daily walk or in the market? How about buying a set of school supplies and leaving them on the doorstep of a teacher in your community who you KNOW if paying for most of the supplies in their classroom? How about using your app to send an order of groceries to a family who could use a little extra help? None of these need to be huge actions… smiles, an extra can of veggies or soup… and there are probably a few dozen more that we haven’t thought of yet! All actions that take very little effort to execute but can make a huge impact on someone else. That’s totally doable, right? RIGHT!
So here’s the plan: Starting right this very second, sit down and make a list of five things you can do that will take very little effort. Then, make a list of five things that will take a little more effort. Finally, make a list of five things that will take some planning and doing to achieve. Here are our lists:
Five Things That Take Little or No Effort
1. Smile and say hey to the couple we pass on our walk down by the water… and that little lady with her bright shoes.
2. Make eye contact with and say thank you to the next customer service person we encounter in a store.
3. Donate one month of coffee money to an artist’s Patreon or PayPal account. (We are very active online and our online community is part of our immediate world that we can affect!)
4. Pick up one piece of trash from the front street.
5. Move the neighbor’s garbage can around when we move ours.
Five Things That Take A Little More Effort
1. Buy three extra cans of food for the food bank.
2. But three extra cans of food for a local family.
3. Take dinner to XX whose wife just died.
4. Buy a gift card for that lady who always volunteers at the community center.
5. Pull weeds for the lady with the red dog down the street.
Five Things That Take Some Planning and Doing
1. Make an afghan and give it to the family down the street.
2. Clean out our clothes closet and yarn inventory at the end of the season and donate it to a local shelter or senior center.
3. Make a hat and scarf and keep it in the car so we can give it to someone who needs it when we are out and about. Every time we give one away, make another set.
4. Volunteer one day at the community center.
5. Volunteer one day at the food bank garden.
These are all specific to us and the people and organizations in our neighborhood… and y’all are going to come up with your own specific action items. Note that the items that take little or no or a little more effort can be done multiple and some can be done every day!
Oh yeah… here’s the kicker: Do all of these anonymously. Yeah yeah… smiling can’t be done anonymously because you are attached to your face (not much you can or SHOULD do about that!)… but you can drop off those extra food items to a family without them ever knowing you were there. Same with the donations to teachers and artists and even local charities. Do these just because you CAN do them… not to hashtag them or to rack up points on some cosmic scoreboard. Do them just because. That said, does cleaning out your closet and seeing those gently used clothes and items of furniture go to good use feel good? Heck yeah! And smiling, as they say, is contagious. In fact, it’s a proven fact that even the act of smiling releases endorphins that make you feel good. In fact, there is anecdotal evidence that smiling can heal our physical bodies… that’s a big bonus just from smiling at a couple of people while you go about your errands! So, will you derive benefit from these actions? YUP! Feeling good, having more space in your house (we can attest to that one!), and knowing that you sent something good out into a universe that doesn’t always seem such a nice place… those are amazing results for relatively small actions.
So here’s what we’d like for y’all to do: leave a comment below with ideas to add to the lists. The more suggestions the better… let’s harness the hive mind of the internet and see how many small-big actions we can come up with. Start with your own list of five… #fivethings yeah… we’ll use that hashtag on social media so we can find each other and share ideas. We’d love to try out some of your ideas so #fivethings will make it easier for us to find you. Don’t fret if you aren’t active on social media. We’ll keep updating each other in the comments to this post and maybe some future posts with ideas for how we can take actions right outside our own front doors to make a big, positive difference in our global family. Plus, we’re betting y’all will come up with some FAB ideas that we haven’t thought of.
Ready… set… GO!!
Can’t wait to see what y’all come up with!
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Shannon and Jason
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