Giving Back

I believe in giving back.

Giving back doesn’t have to require a huge big effort on our part. I’ve volunteered my time to worthwhile causes since I can remember. I know, I know, it’s time consuming. Many of us are already juggling family, jobs and life in general. We don’t have hours to spend knee-deep in volunteer work, nor do we feel we can give up our precious “free time” in service to others when our own families should occupy that prestigious spot in our lives.

But giving back does not have to be all consuming. It can be as simple as offering someone words of encouragement, making them smile when they’re feeling down, helping them view life from a totally different angle, bringing hope into their lives when it is absent or just doing something nice without expecting some payback. What I’ve come to see it that, so many times when we do something expecting nothing in return, wonderful things naturally come our way.

This summer I had the opportunity to do something unique, something that required a few moments of my time and cost me a trip to the post office, two bucks worth of postage, and a couple of years worth of hair. Yes, I did say hair!

In May, my second daughter bought me a coupon to have my hair cut at a salon. I’d been nattering about getting my haircut for months but taking the time to make an appointment in town, and then actually going, just kept getting put off. (Writers do lead such busy lives you know.) So, smart daughter that I have, she knew a haircut wasn’t going to happen unless she took matters into her own hands. One way or another that ponytail had to go. The thing about long hair is we don’t realize how long it is until one day we wake up and it’s just in the way. And really, a ponytail is designed to trick us into thinking our hair isn’t all that long.

Now right from the start, I couldn’t imagine having all that hair cut and simply throwing it away. My kids will tell you; hardly anything gets thrown out in this house. I knew there were places willing to take my hair. I just had to find out where. A little digging around the Internet, and I found a place that uses donated hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Seemed like a very worthwhile cause. So I did up my braids and mailed them off one Saturday.

Like I said, giving back doesn’t always require a great deal of our time, just a little thought and some willingness on our part to make the effort.  Not to mention I got a nifty new haircut in the bargain. And who knows, perhaps I’ll write about a character one day doing the exact thing.

What small ways do you have of giving back?

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  1. Angela Wilson

     /  September 4, 2012

    I have volunteered in many different organizations, have fed many children over the years that are not my own, have bought Xmas gifts every year for families in need, have taken in stray animals and people and fed them and given them a safe place to stay, donated clothes, toys and books, cleaned and cooked meals for people for free and donate plasma on a regular basis.

    • A shining example, Angela! You’re just as sweet as I remember from our school days. I guess the thing about giving back is, the more we do it the more we want to. It leaves us wth a great feeling inside. :)

  2. beverley

     /  September 4, 2012

    How lovely

  3. You can cut it yourself and mail it away? You don’t have to go to a salon? Can you post the address? Or send it to my email address?

    My avatar has me with short hair, but that was almost seven years ago. I haven’t had my hair cut since. I’ve trimmed it a few times, but it’s still quite long. I endured this summer with long hair, but the mix of long hair and heat made it horrible. I was tempted to cut it off many times.

    Here I am now, at the beginning of the cooling season, so I’m going to return to loving long hair again, but…while I live in central Nova Scotia, I’ll have to suffer through mid-30 temperatures from June to September, so next June, I plan to chop it off.

    I dread the salon, having had several bad hair cuts that only made me come home to chop away at the horrible mess. :-) Yet, I did want to donate my hair. If I could mail it, I could do it at home.

    My daughter donated about 12 inches last year. Her hair still hung past her shoulders. Hair in my family grows like weeds, so even if I cut my hair short, it will be long again in no time.

    Thanks for sharing, Laura. And by the way, the new cut looks fabulous on you. From past hair cut adventures, I can imagine the weight taken off your shoulders.

    • I just sent an email with the link, Diane. The long hair was definitely getting to me this summer. I swear it grew an extra six inches overnight. I was ready for it to be gone. Now all I have to do is make sure not to wait another two years before getting it cut. :)

  4. My grocery store supports the local food bank several times a year by bundling bags of food for $10.00 that make it easy to add to your grocery cart and help out. At the college where I work, I also buy Christmas gifts for children of students who are in need. Once a year I offer free writing workshops for teens through my local library, and my mom and I also knit/crochet blankets for Project Linus. I’m sure most people find small ways to help others and don’t even think about it as something special–giving someone your unused parking time at the hospital parking lot or letting the person behind you with 2 items go ahead of you at the grocery store. Kindness, big or small, makes a difference in the lives of both of the people involved.

    • Heather, there really are so many ways to give back, and I think it’s wonderful. Big or small, kindness leaves its mark. I love all the things everyone has listed here in the comments. :)

  5. What a fantastic story! Your act of kindness will definitely bring a smile to someone’s face. :-)

    As for my moment of giving back, I helped a lot of students learn how to read a map today. :-)

    • C.B. I have so much respect for teachers, and all the ‘extra” work they do that goes unnoticed by some. Your students, I’m sure, appreciate it. :) A small act of kindness can go a long way.

  6. I actually did so much volunteering at one time that I became exhausted. The moral is you need to know your limit. I was the secretary for the fall fair, the treasurer for the recreational committee, an emergency responder, t’chi instructor, erobics instructor, and fire fighter. Haha, now I’m speaking to high school students whenever I can. Sadly, they’re subjected to my readings whether they like it or not.

    • Wow, Joylene! I’m exhausted just reading about all that! Too much volunteer time is not a good thing either. It sounds as though you’ve found a good balance. :)

  7. Over the years I’ve given of my time or money or needed items to a variety of organizations and individuals, but now most of my time is given to my Dad. Whether he appreciates it or not is another thing. It’s the way of the disease, help is often not seen as needed or necessary – which adds stress to stress for the one giving. But, oh well, this too will pass, and then I will be wondering how did I use my time before all that? As it is, there are a few things I would like to contribute to but I just don’t have the energy beyond my ‘now normal’ daily effort.
    Giving is really a blessing to all involved. Giving healthy hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients is a wonderful thing. I’m glad you did that, Laura.

    • The time you spend with your Dad you’ll never regret. It certainly isn’t easy, but we do what we are called to do without question. Time is one of our most prized gifts.


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