Worldwide Day of Service – How One Family Used it To Help Them Remember
I opened Facebook a few days ago to see a post from my sister-in-law that broke my heart. Her Grandfather had passed away earlier that day. Here’s what she wrote:
And so Jessica and her family headed to Calgary, Canada for the funeral services and to celebrate his life. There was just one hitch. Her husband and oldest daughter’s passports were expired. That prompted a quick plane flight to Seattle with fingers crossed, hoping that they could get passports renewed in time.
Things did not go exactly as planned. So, while the family was stranded waiting to see if their passports could be approved, they decided to make the best of it. After all, this was the anticipated Worldwide Day of Service, and while they hadn’t expected to spend the day mourning, they knew they could still do something small and simple to participate. After a few impromptu purchases, they found a quiet corner near the entrance of the local Target and went to work.
A few hours later, Jessica shared an Instagram photo of their “Little things make BIG Days” effort. Each family member got a few of their prepared treat packages to distribute, and then, working as teams, they went looking for people who might appreciate a random act of kindness.
This street cleaner was a little hard for 7-year-old Evie to catch up with, but once she chased him down, he was so thrilled, he asked for a hug to go with his treat. The Uber driver responded with a high five. “It just felt warm that I was giving people service, and they give other people service,” Evie observed.
A homeless woman squealed with delight and said, “Now, you go taking care of that momma of yours! You be a darling!” The metro driver looked taken aback. It was a great day. Especially since the passports were successfully renewed!
Later, when they handed treats to the pilot and flight attendant as they deplaned from their flight to Calgary, the flight attendant asked if the girls’ parents were planning to raise more children. “The world needs more people like you!”
It was a sweet way to find some solace for their own aching hearts. Somehow, in looking outside of themselves, they found that their grieving—the fact that they were in pain—made it easier to feel compassion for others. And in being “busy” doing something thoughtful became a good way to remember and honor a man who had left a legacy of generosity for his descendants to emulate.
Kya, age 12, made a sage observation when she said, “I felt like we were being given random acts of kindness more than we gave to others. The surprise on some of their faces was the best! I think we made some peoples’ day. Everybody was so happy and I could meet more people and the good side of people. Sometimes when you first meet somebody, you don’t really think of how they really are, but when you give something to somebody, you see their good side, and you make more friends that way.”
One of the blessings of having family is that we can pass on dreams, traditions, and time-honored values. Grandpa Cooper’s influence is being passed on to the next generation. “I help my neighbors because of him,” wrote Jessica in her tribute to her Grandpa. And now, Jessica is teaching her children the same thing. “We help our neighbors because of HIM.”