Making a Difference

Josh cookingWe have been collecting ring pull tops off cans for the past several months and now have quite a collection of them on the kitchen bench. Recent visitors have asked what they are for and I must confess, I was a bit hazy on the reason. A friend’s mum had shared with me how they are made from titanium and since titanium is so expensive, they collect the ring pulls from the cans, melt it down and use it to make artificial limbs for kids. I took her word for it and started collecting them.  It was only when recent visitors began questioning the process that I realised that I hadn’t done ‘due diligence’ and investigated it for myself.

Upon investigation, guess what? It was all pretty useless. The ring pull is made from aluminium. We would be better collecting the whole can, and enough cans to take to a metal recycling plant and getting the money for it and then sending it to the orthopaedic limb centres to help fund the artificial limbs. The collecting of the ring pulls is really never going to be enough to make a limb (apart from one whole town in Tasmania about a decade ago that managed it over several years but have now given up).

What does make a difference?

I sat down with my children and brainstormed ways that we could be more ‘others focussed’. I don’t know about your children, but mine are excellent at being self focussed. We made a list of the top 50 ways that we could be more others focussed. We were aiming for 100 but Princess (10) soon became disinterested. Matey (8) is my little “I’ll join any cause and support it” person and continued getting excited about ways to help and encourage others.

A few of the things we brainstormed and which we have actually put into practice are:

  1. Make a meal for someone shifting house so they don’t have to cook that night. Remember to take plastic plates and cutlery as they may not know where theirs are at that moment.
  2. Cook a meal for someone who has had a new baby.
  3. Visit an elderly neighbour to chat with them.
  4. Ring someone who lives on their own.
  5. Send a letter to someone to encourage them.
  6. Give chocolates or make biscuits to give to the postman and/or garbage collector. Write them a ‘thank you’ card.
  7. Pick up litter when you see it.
  8. Write a letter to a missionary child who lives in Africa.
  9. Put money in someone else’s parking meter.
  10. Pay for a coffee for the next customer or pay for the following customer at a fast food drive through.
  11. Weed an elderly person’s garden.
  12. Ask God to show you what people need encouragement and how best you can encourage them.

I encourage you as a family to sit down with your children and brainstorm a list of the ways that you can individually, or as a family, impact, help and encourage people who live around you or with whom you have some kind of contact with. See how many ways you can think of to encourage people. Then choose something each week from your list to do. We have tried putting each point on a slip of paper, folding it up and putting in a jar. Then, each week pull out a slip and look at how you can fulfil that that week.

It is not only the huge things in life that can change the world. Little acts of kindness can have a huge effect on the person receiving the kindness and can change their life. 

 What are some of the things that your family does for others? Feel free to comment as I would love to hear and I am always on the lookout for fresh and new ways to impact other people.