Monday, June 7, 2010

The Daily Good Deed

I recently re-watched one of my favorite movies, Amelie, a French film about a shy young woman who has difficulty interacting with people because of her reclusive childhood. One day, she discovers a hole in her apartment wall in which a young boy stashed a box of his treasured toys 40 years before. After she restores it to it’s rightful owner, she begins dabbling in altruism as a hobby. I love one scene in which she guides the neighborhood blind man down a street to the metro stop, verbally narrating all of the sights, smells, and sounds of the neighborhood, giving the lonely man a fleeting vision of the world around him.

Watching this film always makes me consider what simple good deeds I could do to make the world a little better. Doing a good deed takes me outside of the me-oriented survival bubble that working often leads me to create. Today, I went for a walk and saw a plastic bag in the pond where baby ducklings were swimming, so I fished it out with a sturdy stick and threw it in the nearest garbage can. I believe in the possibility of small gestures making a big difference to someone, somewhere - even if it’s just one piece of litter or one less drowned duckling.

I found some ideas for good deeds - browse and happy good deed-doing!

*Give an honest compliment to 5 people you meet today.
*Every night, for a week, write down 10 things that you are thankful for that happened during the day.
*Share a book.
*Make encouraging bookmarks and leave them inside books of a public library.
*Email someone you admire and tell him/her why.
*Write a letter to your public official and express your suggestions for the community.
*Write a note to thank some one who has positively influenced your life.
*Cook a meal for your family.
*Buy flowers for your mom (or dad).
*Donate old books to a worthy cause.
*Start a "free hug" campaign. (Note: I have actually seen college kids at the Davis Farmer’s *Market doing this - now I know what it was about!)
*Use reusable bags.
*Water the plants.
*Plant a tree and/or a garden.
*Use ladybugs instead of pesticides.
*Teach someone a skill that you know.

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