Your child probably didn't wake up this morning thinking, "I can change the world," but the fact is, they can. Jesus' simple direction for us to "love one another," (John 13) is key. In Your Next 24 Hours, Convoy of Hope president Hal Donaldson writes,
[Good deeds] have the power to change everything. Perhaps you've accepted the lie that one person can't make a difference in a world where hatred seizes the headlines and anger marches through the streets ... But what if every person was a relentless force for good? Overnight, a revolution of kindness would dethrone a culture of greed and self-centeredness. The world would be a different place. You have more power and influence than you think.
In the movie, Sweet, Sweet, Summertime, young Caleb and his friends eagerly form what they call the "Thank-You Crew," in an effort to change their town with good deeds. Their summer becomes unforgettable as their simple acts of kindness begin to have transformative effects.
And good deeds are much more than the stuff of movies; they're an accessible way to change the world, one person at a time. Donaldson wrote in Your Next 24 Hours, "One decision can change the course of your life and the lives of others too."
Here are 53 good deeds your teen can do this summer:
1. Mow your neighbor's lawn.
2. Leave a sticky note with words of encouragement where a friend will find it.
3. Compliment a stranger.
4. Ask a friend if you can run an errand for them.
5. Support businesses that donate to great causes.
6. Bring cookies to a neighbor you haven't met yet.
7. Ask a stranger if they have any prayer requests.
8. Bring a bouquet of flowers to the nurses at a hospital.
9. Bring your dog to a senior care center (call ahead first and ask permission).
10. Listen actively (put your phone away!).
11. Keep water bottles and small amounts of cash in your car for the homeless.
12. Leave an especially generous tip and a thank you note for a server that seems stressed.
13. Instead of throwing away items you don't want, donate them.
14. Send a letter to a soldier or veteran.
15. Tithe your time to help someone younger than you get ahead.
16. Let a car merge in front of you.
17. Call someone you haven't spoken to in a while.
18. Pay for someone's coffee.
19. Send an encouraging story via email to someone who needs a boost.
20. Keep a $5 bill in your wallet or purse and give it to a kid who does a good deed.
21. Visit your kids at school, stay for lunch.
22. Leave genuine compliments on social media.
23. Put some extra quarters in someone's parking meter.
24. Give your leftovers to a homeless person.
25. Send a note to your boss when a coworker does something awesome.
26. Offer to babysit free for a couple who needs a night off.
27. Smile at a stranger.
28. Give someone a book you think they would love.
29. Pick up litter.
30. Pay someone's library fines.
31. Write a compliment on a friend's blog.
32. Hold the elevator.
33. Say thanks to a janitor.
34. Donate pet food to a local animal shelter.
35. Give cans of food to a local food bank.
36. Wash someone's car.
37. Bring an extra sack lunch to your child's school, so a kid who forgets won't go hungry.
38. Help someone load or unload their groceries.
39. Say thank you to your mail carrier.
40. Return your shopping cart to the correct place.
41. Let someone else take the closest parking spot (walking is good for you anyway).
42. Take care of a friend's pet while they're on vacation.
43. Help someone move.
44. Compliment young siblings that are kind to one another.
45. Buy lemonade from a lemonade stand (give a little extra).
46. Share your favorite songs with a friend.
47. Offer to mentor someone younger.
48. Do an extra chore around the house.
49. Write a recommendation letter for a friend looking for a job.
50. Stack chairs after church.
51. Tutor a kid.
52. Volunteer at a community event.
53. Share something that made you laugh with a friend.
The first chapter of Your Next 24 Hours (which you can read here) discusses the incredible impact of the late Paul Walker ("Fast and Furious," "Eight Below"). Donaldson said of Walker, "He understood that life is always better when everyone in the community is better."
Whether you form a "Thank-You Crew" like the kids in Sweet, Sweet, Summertime, or simply perform some good deeds on your own, your child's kindness makes a difference.
Reprinted with permission from Pure Flix Entertainment.
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