There is a difference between Pleasure and Joy. Pleasure is often temporary, usually results from getting something, and is most commonly motivated by selfish desires. Joy, however, most often comes as the result of unselfish living and giving, is motivated from within, and is certainly much more than mere temporal gratification because it is a feeling rewarded by the actions taken to bless the life of someone else.
And ironically, this joy does not usually come from monumental, recognized, and massively impactful donations or actions; in fact, it is the small, simple, and often unrecognized actions that mean the most, make the largest difference, and produce what is often referred to as ‘true joy.’
Our great challenge, thus, is not necessarily to do everything mentioned on the list below; rather, it is simply to just do something! Whether it is one or ten items from this list, or something from the hundreds of other ideas not mentioned herein, we as individuals, families, and as a society need to reconsider the me-oriented culture we are daily bombarded with, and do a little more to participate in the small, simple, quiet actions that serve others – and allow us to experience this ‘true joy.’
- Pick up trash around your local parks and churches, community buildings and areas, schools and historical spots, elderly homes and hospitals, highways and roads, etc.
- Volunteer at local shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, schools, etc.
- Collect clothes, food, toiletries, toys, and basic necessities and donate to your local charity, Church, Salvation Army, or to non-profits that help those in developing countries.
- Organize a car wash, raffle, contest, or fund-raiser to collect money that will be donated to help a local family, charity, or underprivileged people from other countries.
- Have fun and organize a service scavenger hunt race. Divide everyone into groups and each group has to complete random things for people in the community: rake leaves, mow lawn, shovel sidewalk, pick up trash, sweep sidewalks, etc.
- Go to a local hospital or nursing home and sing, read to, put on a puppet show for, make ‘get well’ cards, or just visit with the patients.
- Become ‘pen pals’ with or ‘sponsor a child’ from another country.
- Gather volunteers to help foster families – help them clean, babysit, or do service for these people to help them.
- Volunteer at the next Special Olympics event in your area.
- Individually, as a group, or each person in the family donate some money and give it to a local family in need, a charity or non-profit, or local church.
- Next time you pass someone on the street that is in need, begging, or homeless – stop and talk to them, give them some money, or buy them a meal.
- Call, email, or visit a sick friend, neighbor, or relative.
- Volunteer in an after-school program to help a struggling child. Read to them, help them with homework, play games with them, talk to them, laugh and tell stories, and just be their friend. Do the same for an Elderly person.
- Collect or make blankets for kids and families in need locally.
- Go and volunteer at your local charities, non-profit organizations, Salvation Army, or Churches. Support the United Way, Red Cross, and any other organization who helps others.
- Gather stuffed animals, toys, dolls, or fun games – clean them up and donate them to a local family, church, or charity.
- Volunteer at a local library or school to help illiterate children or adults.
- Regularly visit people at the local developmental center, those who are blind, people with special needs, etc.
- Run or walk in a charity with friends that raises money to help people in need.
- Help with every day things around the house: do chores, help set table, clean house/room, make bed, vacuum floor, mow lawn, take garbage out, etc.
- Go visit a neighbor in need and help them with yard work, clean the house, rides, or any chores they need help with.
- Gather and collect old eyeglasses, and donate them to an organization who will give them to local or non-local people in need.
- Make a card for and buy a gift for a secretary at your local non-profit organization.
- Make dinner or cookies for a new neighbor, a friend or family member, a new or expecting mother, someone who is sick or alone, the elderly or someone in need.
- Volunteer as a counselor at the next summer camp, boy scout event, church or community project, etc.
- Secretly clean someone’s car, room, house, yard, etc.
- Go and donate blood, and volunteer at your local health clinic (or fair).
- Volunteer to do office work, or any other helpful project for your local church or non-profit organization.
- Invite new neighbors, a local youth group, new members of your congregation, elderly people, or anyone else into your home for a fun game night.
- Go to the local hospital, nursing home, or school and just spend time playing games as a family with these people, groups, or children in need.