Daily Archives: August 23, 2010

Offering Deeds at a Discount

I try to make a habit of doing good deeds. But I also appear to be pretty good at being on the receiving end of them.

I live in a tight community, so my family has close neighbours, not to mention beloved friends and relatives, who frequently go out of their way to help us. To put this into context: We do live with a few challenges. My husband has disabilities, we both work full-time, and we’re raising an energetic daughter whose bustling daily schedule would be enough to short-circuit a PalmPilot. Happily, we have a neighbour who routinely helps out with lawn mowing and snow blowing. Another two families have willingly taken in my daughter any time I needed some last-minute babysitting. When my mate began having health problems, a couple of different ladies on our block showed up with food. (Yum. I’m not saying that made all our troubles worthwhile, but it certainly did take some of the sting out.)

Sure, I myself have been known to bring muffins or soup to the neighbours with the new baby or the health crisis. And I too have shovelled a sidewalk or two past our property line. When I first started writing about acts of kindness, I referred to these as “discount deeds” and didn’t count them in my daily log. Because I wasn’t helping a total stranger. Because I could reasonably expect that my friend or neighbour might reciprocate the next time.

But I’ve since resolved that a discount deed for a friend or loved one can be just as meaningful as lending a hand to a stranger. I just returned from a glorious family wedding weekend where I saw, over and over again, inspiring instances of thoughtfulness among the people there. Why shouldn’t we be as considerate as we can to our family, friends and neighbours? We desperately need these close connections in our lives, and doing good turns – especially when the practice goes both ways – is one way of cementing them. Do you agree?

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