How much time do you devote to serving others?  And I mean over and above caring for your loved ones.  How much of your conscious awareness includes sharing your resources (love, hope, time, energy, money) with people you don’t know personally?  How much of your life is spent in selfless giving outside of your core community (your close family and friends)?

Most of us perform acts on a regular basis that give to others we are not closely affiliated with.  Ever buy a box of Girl Guide cookies?  Or those chocolate covered almonds to support an elementary school?  How about donated cans and bottles to the local soccer team so they can keep the proceeds for their tournaments?  Sometimes we drop coins in a can at the till at the grocery store or bank to support whatever charity is on pictured on the can.

But how many times do you consciously set aside resources to deliver to a cause that really calls to your heart?

There’s a difference here that I’m hoping to call attention to.  There is nothing wrong with doing the former.  In fact, as someone who used to canvass door-to-door for the Scouting movement and for school clubs, THANK YOU for supporting all of these extremely worth-while causes.  In addition to doing those things, there is another kind of service that calls for an additional step or two.  Those steps are research and awareness.

The first thing you have to do is ask yourself, what is something you really care about?  The literary arts?  Animal rights?  Women’s safety?  Sports?  Health?  Something else?

For this task, choose one (but by all means, explore all of the ones that interest you at some point!).  Then do some research into initiatives of your heart’s interest and see how you can support them with whatever means you are willing and able to donate.

Are you an animal lover?  Does your local animal shelter need volunteers to walk dogs or play with the bunnies?  I know a 9 year old girl who came up with this idea on her own because she was bothered by the fact that her favourite beings in the world didn’t have playmates.

Do you think it’s important that everyone on this planet should be able to have access to proper vision?  Check with your optometrist – they probably have something set up where they donate used eyeglasses to third world countries.  Can you ask your friends and family to help you by donating their old eyeglasses?  Spreading awareness can set so much in motion to an extent which you may never fully realize.

The point is that you are aware of a planet in need and that you know that you have the capacity to do something to ease that need. Look outside of your core community.  You will find inspiration for so many projects in which you can involve your children.  What a legacy that would be.

And if you’re a step ahead of the words of this post, you have realized by now that although the initial phase of this task requires you to forget about yourself and look beyond your own world, there is this law about giving that states that the giver is never excluded from the gifts. 

Today I encourage you to set this in motion and if you’d like to share what you are doing or what you plan to do, we would all benefit from your thoughts.