Does everyone have something they should share for the general good? Do I need to be doing something when I’m so busy myself?
Haircuts for Dignity
For those of you who don’t know Joshua Coombes, I suggest that you hop over here (after reading this of course) and get acquainted with a man who is making a massive change in people’s lives by offering them a haircut. Those of you who are fortunate enough to know that wonderful feeling of stepping out of a hair salon will know that you feel a million dollars. You feel a little bit lighter and just a little bit more special than you did walking in. I am lucky enough to know this feeling and to be able to feel it on a regular basis. But so what, it’s just a hair cut. Yes, but for the people Joshua sees, this isn’t just a haircut. It is re-connecting with themselves and people around them. Joshua cuts the hair of people living rough on the streets.
I’ve been following him for a while on instagram and he has received international interest in his project and hashtag #dosomethingfornothing because it is inspiring when you watch the before and after videos of people he has met. Joshua meets these people as he travels around the world. He is employed as a hairdresser, but uses so many opportunities to take his tools and his hands to bless people he meets at train stations, parks and roads as he travels. He meets these people right where they are and that is just as huge a step as the transformation that occurs when he cuts their hair. Like I said, you need to go watch it for yourself.
What Could I Give?
The thought that often comes after seeing something so wonderful is „What could I do?“. This thought followed me for a while. I am a teacher and a mum and sometimes I blog. What could I do? I can’t walk up to a stranger and offer a course on conjugating verbs. Not only might it be misconstrued, it is often simply not appropriate. I don’t have the time to do this and I really don’t think it is the kind of help the world needs right now. My brain is much quicker at giving me the „can’t“s than the „can“s.
Your Call Can Find You
Looking back a little further though, I realize that there have been times where I have done something for others without monetary payment. As a teenager I babysat, I gave my time and patience to other families for free. As a student I visited people at hospital who had no visitors, again this was time and also simply turning up. When I was off work with my second child I taught refugee women German in a course where we all brought our children. All of these opportunities came when they were possible and often they came to me rather than me looking. They didn’t feel huge because they were things that I could do. Anyone who knows me knows that I like to talk! They also know that I enjoy teaching and being with children. When I heard about the opportunities, or applied for one, it felt like a good fit and the ideas flowed.
Not Always The Right Time
I read an awful article a couple of years ago which really moved me and I got in touch with the journalist to ask how I could help. Thankfully she had the insight to inquire into my personal situation, and when she found out that I had two small children and a job, she recommended that I waited until the next season in my life came around and I had more time. I was really surprised that she would write this, but now I am really thankful! The ones who need me right now are right in front of me. Any ways of helping right now would have to include them in a positive way.
Safeguarding Yourself and Others
Getting alongside someone and offering help gives you an insight into their lives that no other situation would. It is a privileged situation and one that must be carefully guarded against abuse. Abuse can come from both sides. Some people will keep on taking from you until you say no. This can be tough if you find it difficult to recognize your boundaries and you need someone who can reflect on this with you. That is why I have mostly helped through organizations rather than on my own. Sometimes you need support and advice and it is safeguarding yourself against allegations.
Getting More Than You Give
If you are able to give even five minutes of time to others, you will notice that the reward far outweighs the cost. Going out of your way for others is an exciting journey and enriches your life more than filling it with more and more busy tasks and stuff. It is what connects us to each other and reminds you that life is more about the people and the places that the things.
Need More Ideas?
I am convinced that there are ways to help around every corner. If you decide you would be open to it, then quite often you will recognize one not too far away from you. However, if you need some inspiration then ask people around you what they think you could offer. Would you like some more inspiration? Watch this video.