By Jodi Milner

Jodi Milner author/bio pic

From our earliest years, we are taught that doing good things felt good. For many, the association of doing good things for others is linked with the idea of being rewarded. Children learn that doing something good often results in receiving stickers, gold stars, or small pieces of candy. Adults know that doing nice things for others helps them to feel better about themselves.

The science behind altruism – or the wish to perform good deeds – supports the idea of a “helper’s high” or the feeling we get after we’ve done something kind or helpful. In fact, there is a strong connection between this desire to help to a longer, happier life. A large part of this is that doing good for others reduces stress and makes us feel better about ourselves. 

I think we all could use a little less stress these days. 

Good Deeds 101 – Where to start?

While volunteering at a soup kitchen is a wonderful way to contribute back to a community, most people struggle to find the time or figure out who they need to contact to do so. Doing big things is important, and if you have the time and energy to organize this type of larger effort, the world will thank you in ways that can’t be measured. 

Many people will think that only big efforts matter, but honestly, small efforts can do big things for the people who receive them.

The world needs small efforts as well. Doing a good deed doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. Many people will think that only big efforts matter, but honestly, small efforts can do big things for the people who receive them. Smile at your cashier at the store, pick up litter at your park, offer to shovel a walkway, play a board game with the family, deliver a plate of goodies to a neighbor, leave a note of appreciation for a loved one, above all, seek out ways you can make someone’s day better.

The next time you see an opportunity to do something nice or helpful, take the time to act on your impulse. You might be exactly the help that they need to make all the difference in the world.

Jumper cables to the rescue!

Earlier this winter I was picking up one of my kids after a school activity and I noticed a car with its hood up in the parking lot. As it was later in the evening, there were not many people around to help so I kept an eye on them as I went through the pickup lane. Normally, I wouldn’t stop for something like this, especially being alone with one of my kids – fixing cars is not one of my strengths and in many situations, it’s not safe to do so.  But – I know all the signs of a dead battery and my kid recognized the woman as one of the teachers. 

Long story short, there was no way that this woman would have been able to start her car. She’d even called for help and her husband brought their portable battery that had worked in the past, but it didn’t have enough charge.

Had I not stopped, they would have had to call a service to come help them out. On a teacher’s budget, that would have been an unwelcome expense. It cost me all of five minutes and we got that car started in no time. Everyone was able to get home safely. 

My kiddo still smiles when they talk about the time we helped one of the teachers. 

Worth it.

Discussion question: When has someone come to your rescue when you needed it most?


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