So you kept reading eh? Expecting me to list the best organizations that will help you change the world? Think I’m going to start with some statistic that is going to make you feel on fire for Cambodia? Well I’m not. Yes it is true that according to Compassion International for only $1.25 a day you could supply food, clean water, medical care, and education to a child in need, but I won’t bombard you with these facts, at least not right now.
Instead, let’s start from home. No really, start at home! Contrary to popular belief, we are not created to be alone. Independence will only get you so far in life. Yes, you can go out and get a job, stand out among the rest and work your way up the ladder, but in order to be truly successful you need community. Growing up you needed someone to guide you, but now that you’re an “adult”, you need friends to hold you accountable to your goals, build you up, and simply laugh with. Because of the mutual love and comfort you find in each other, these relationships cannot flourish without sacrifice.
So what better way to begin this journey of “giving back” than starting from home? You can’t learn to serve those around the world and strangers on the street until you learn to serve those you love (and sometimes can’t stand).
Here are some simple suggestions that will surely show you care:
- Give Housework Help
When you live with someone, you start picking up on their “telltale signs” of a good or bad day. You can feel their emotions vibrate through the floorboards into your room. You just know. So on those days when their door is shutting you out, or they burst through yours crying about the stresses of a new job, give a helping hand. After sitting with them listening to their cries, and affirming that, “Yes, your boss is a jerk, no, they don’t deserve you”, take a moment to think of how you can help. Maybe the dishes are piling up and it’s their day to do them. Follow the Nike cliché and “just do it”. They may or may not notice, but that’s not the point. The point is you showed a little love to the person you spend every day with.
- Bring Friends Food
Why do people say, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” when we all know it’s actually pizza, or that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, when in reality the stomach is the key to every person’s soul? Sure we’re all poor students, but if just a few extra bucks can make your roommate’s whole day, why not “just do it”? I noticed the importance of this the other week when I ordered some Thai food to be delivered to my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn. I didn’t realize the portions would be so large, and there was no way I was gunna carry that back to Jersey. I offhandedly offered it to my friend and her eyes widened as she responded, “YES! That will be my lunch for tomorrow.” Finally I realized the importance of food to us struggling younglings in the city. So the next time you order from seamless.com or browse through all the meal coupons on the Campus Clipper, keep your friends in mind!
- Being Sick Sucks
Let’s just stop and contemplate all the places you touch on a daily basis. Just thinking about the subway alone is enough to make me gag. In the fast-paced rush of the city, we just don’t have time to get sick! Most of the time we don’t even have a chance to sit down to eat a healthy meal. Yet every winter we put off our flu shots and brave the cold. Even if you don’t catch anything, there’s a chance that one of your roommates will. Before you routinely run out the door, take a moment to check on the people you live with. More likely than not they don’t actually need anything, but knowing that someone is willing to take care of them is comfort enough. Maybe you’re not much of a cook, but opening a can of soup and popping it in the microwave can be exhausting for someone who’s sick with the flu. Doing this will only take two minutes, but showing that you care makes the heart happy, and healthy.
- Show Active Appreciation
Hopefully, you live with someone who helps keep the place clean, or gives you a text while waiting in line at Starbucks asking what you want. (If not, maybe you could just slide this article underneath their door). Regardless, the most important component of keeping a relationship strong is the act of showing appreciation. So when they sacrifice for you don’t just say “thank you”. Verbally express appreciation for your roomie. It doesn’t need to be a sob fest, unless that’s what they need, (refer back to the girl in tip 1), but showing appreciation for each other will help calm those inevitable crazy days that come with a shared living space.
Sometimes all you need in a city full of pushy grimacing faces is a strong and joyful relationship with your house buds. But as I stated before, the act of helping only begins here. Now we continue onto serving outside.
If my short snippet about Compassion International did in fact interest you, you can find more information here: http://www.compassion.com
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