Thursday, February 16, 2012

Five Ways to Help Others

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s writing prompt day. Today’s prompt is one I’ve been wanting to write about for a few weeks, but it’s also one that I know will take me a while to complete. I have been sick at home today, so I have had time to think this through. This week’s prompt is: Write out five things you can do to help other people this week (or five things you’ve already done).

1. Teach. Each and every day that I do my job correctly I am helping not one person but over 100. I have 110 kids total throughout any given day, and when I teach them grammar that they don’t already know, I am helping them. When I help them read because they can’t comprehend the text, I am helping them. When I show them how to format an expository essay because they haven’t developed any writing skills yet, I am helping them. Although it is my job to help them, it’s something that many teachers do not do anymore. Many teachers simply roll their eyes when a student asks the same question for the third time. Many teachers sit at their computers and mess around while the students do whatever they want. Maybe I am just young a naïve, but I deeply care about each and every child I work with. I don’t get along with all of them, and I certainly don’t LIKE all of them, but I care for them because I know that many of them have no support elsewhere, and if I can be that one stable person they see each day, then I am doing my job of helping these children succeed and thrive.

2. Give. Another way I can help people is by giving. I am not the type of person to throw out clothes on a regular basis, but my wonderful fiancé often encourages me (i.e. makes me) fill up bags with clothes that I haven’t worn in a long time. We then drop off those bags at the local Goodwill. I always feel good about doing that. Another way to give is to hand out granola bars to homeless people who are standing on the streets. Yes, this is something I have done before (when I’m not alone in the car), and I acknowledge that I should do more. I know that I have a pretty good life, and since I have everything I need, I should do more to help others. One final way I can give (and I plan on doing this tomorrow morning during my weekly Friday trip to Starbucks before work) is to buy another customer’s order somewhere. Tomorrow at Starbucks I will offer to pay for the person behind me in line (and there is always a line at 6:45 on a Friday morning). It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

3. Inspire. When I am down, I love when people take notice of that and send a little extra something my way, even if it’s just a few words. Because of that, I ALWAYS notice when other people need a little extra, so this week, when I noted that Dan was completely down from being stressed to the max from the Academy, I made sure to send him a sweet e-mail to remind him of why he is working so hard, how it is going to pay off, and how proud of him I am. It was a simple gesture that took no more than ten minutes from my evening, but seeing him like that makes me sad (naturally), so I had to try to make things right. He’s been up at all hours of the night all week working on homework because he’s had his long day of classes more often than not this week, not to mention several tests in various classes. He takes his schoolwork seriously, and I think that is awesome. I hope the e-mail I sent him cheered him up, at least momentarily, and I also hope the five page (and extremely boring) paper about Socrates that I edited helped him out too.

4. Write. I haven’t done this yet, but since I enjoy writing so much (and since it seems to help people when they know someone is thinking of them and someone cares), I think I will use my writing ability to send notes to deployed troops. I wrote one in November when I had my students write letters for class, and we sent them all to Afghanistan (we’ve only gotten one reply out of over 100, though – bummer). This time, I think I will set aside a certain amount of time each week, maybe an hour or so, and start consistently writing to people I don’t know. I know that they don’t have their loved ones with them when they are overseas, and the least I can do is to write a simple letter. After all, I have survived two of Dan’s Basic Trainings (USAFA Prep School and then USAFA – thankfully I didn’t have to endure his nine week Army Basic Training) by writing letter upon letter. I wrote him at least two a day, every single day he was out of contact. I hope that I can bring the same joy to other members of the US Military by sending them encouragement in the form of letters and motivation quotes.

5. Smile. I know this one sounds simple and overrated, but who doesn’t love receiving a smile when they look at someone? I know that when I make eye contact with someone and they smile, I feel appreciated, even if only for a brief moment. The exact opposite can be said for when I make eye contact with someone and they don’t even acknowledge me; it turns my mood sour automatically. Maybe it’s because I am friendly and cheerful to everyone I meet, but I have noticed that many of the people who live in the same apartment complex as me do NOT smile. I will walk to the gym or to the mail area and say hi to someone walking her dog. She won’t even acknowledge that I said hello. This has happened on multiple occasions with multiple people who are also walking to check their mail or walking their dogs or carrying groceries in from their cars, and I hate it. I know that smiling can make the biggest different in someone’s lie if he/she is having a bad day. Sometimes, all they need is to see that someone else is happy, and then their mood will lift up as well. Smiling is something I am natural at; I do it all the time. It won’t take any extra effort on my part, and it’s something that will genuinely help other people.

It seems easy to me to do things to help other people, but when I had to sit down and actually think about them, it became more of a challenge. However, I’ve always been a helper. I think that’s what made me want to be a teacher; I just love helping people, and it always comes naturally to me. After reflecting on the things I already do and the things I can do to help others out, I am in a much better mood. I feel good about myself. I feel happy. And with that, I am going to eat a bowl of ice cream and read until I fall asleep!


No comments:

Post a Comment