I have never been shy about the service that my family and myself have done for others. This is not because I need or even want praise for our efforts. I want others to see and know how serving others helps in your personal life.
I recently switched from juvenile justice into working with those diagnosed with autism. The reason for this is first I wanted to gain a better understanding of the brain and how it functions from person to person. What I learned instead is love and compassion for others. Yes I have developed patience along the way but that was just an added bonus. There is a clear connection between the lessons I have learned recently and how I interact and treat my friends and family. The love and compassion that I feel at work carries over to the home.
It is a known fact that my family and myself have done a lot of work with the homeless in our community. It has grown to the point where we have just established a nonprofit corporation called My Community (mycommunityaz.org). Helping those in need teaches us many lessons that we can take and use in our relationships. We speak often about how blessed we are to have a roof over our head and the love and support of a family. Many we serve have not experienced this for some time. It is those feeling of being blessed that allow myself to face the challenges of raising a family.
The most important lesson that I have learned from serving others is this, I have no right to judge another. In fact the mission statement of My Community states ” Helping our community one person at a time without judgement”. When we are asked if we worry about the people we help being a fraud or not really needing help we simply respond “we are here to help not judge”. This is a powerful tool in our personal relationships because judgement is one main factor in the breakdown of communication. If we feel embarrassed or uncomfortable coming to a child or parent then we avoid asking for help or explaining a situation. Open communication has to be predicated on the lack of judgement from all parties. Parents are good at judging the thoughts and actions of their children. We fall into the trap that all people, especially our children should think and act like we do. If they fail at this task there is something wrong with them and that’s where they are judged. Children do the same thing with parents. Often times this leads to arguments that go unresolved and the relationship is damaged. Accepting the way a person thinks and acts clears the way for you to listen and respond appropriately.
Service opens doors to your inner self that you may not otherwise open. It allows you to open yourself up to new experiences and learning opportunities that will benefit your relationships with others. Take the time to serve and be willing to learn and grow from the lessons that come from this simple act. It is funny but I feel that I receive more than those I serve and in turn I have been able to create lasting memories and relationships with my family and friends. All it takes is one little act of kindness without judgement to change your life.