For me, when it comes to doing good deeds, there are certain supreme acts that don’t even come under consideration. Like digging a freshwater well in a third-world country. Or running an orphanage. Or raising a barn. Sure, these are worthy deeds if you can swing ‘em. But me, well, I probably couldn’t even lift the hammer.
Life gets busy and hectic and frantic and sticky. It’s not easy to devote hours and energy to a good cause when you’ve also got Mount Washmore (as my friend calls it) piling up beside the laundry machine. And you’ve got meetings and deadlines and correspondence and grocery lists. And a sorry skill at carpentry.
That’s why I’m a big fan of doing good deeds by applying the powers you already have. It’s not cheating. It’s just easier… and everyone benefits. You may be lousy at cooking meals in a soup kitchen, but maybe you’d be great at designing their website. You may not know how to tag endangered sea turtles, but maybe you can fundraise for the wildlife foundation. You might be a failure at providing free haircuts for the homeless, but, heck, if you’re competent at growing hair, you can donate your locks for wigs.
In my case, I’m pretty proficient at the English language. In the past couple of weeks I’ve written a press release for a school, edited a few book chapters for a relative, and started reading a YA novel for a colleague seeking feedback. Now these are things I can do not too shabbily.
Where do your particular talents lie? There are oodles of ideas out there. Do you like reading aloud to dogs? Well then, the Humane Society of Regina wants you. If you can think of it, there’s probably a need for it.
I’m not saying you should never ask me to knit scarves for an out-of-the-cold program, or rebuild a deck for a non-profit daycare.
I’m just saying you will probably wish you hadn’t.