As I mentioned in my last couple of posts, this summer the Sunset youth group worked through the book I Like Giving by Brad Formsma. Each week I had the teens write down creative ways to give, and I was constantly amazed by the ideas they came up with.
There were several ideas that overlapped, and I found that the majority of them had to do with listening, encouraging, and spending time with lonely people. Maybe that reflects what our teenagers — and the rest of us, for that matter — need the most.
Here are some of my favorite ideas from the past few weeks — and most of them you can try for less than $5!
1. Take the time every once in a while to write a note to someone, just to show that you appreciate them or are thinking of them.
2. Pack ziplock bags full of snacks and goodies for the homeless and pass them out at stop lights.
3. Give your time to someone. Just spend some time talking one-on-one with someone about anything and everything. Listening to what someone has to say is a gift in itself.
4. Make someone a goodie bag filled with all their favorite candy and give it to them when you think they most need it.
5. Burn a CD of some of your favorite songs that you think a friend would enjoy, and give it to them. Let them know they were on your mind.
6. Buy used copies of your favorite books to give to a friend who is going on vacation, or even to a random stranger.
7. Bake something for someone you know, but who wouldn’t expect you to think of them.
8. Pay attention to your facebook/instagram/twitter to see if your friends post about wanting or needing something, and then surprise them with it. Basically, really listen to people and their needs and you will find ways to help them out.
9. Buy coffee/lunch/pay the toll for the person behind you.
10. If you see someone who seems lonely or sad, invite them over and cook a meal with them. Then try encouraging them as you eat together.
11. Give flowers to an old lady and thanks [sic] them for everything.
12. Sit and listen to what your friend or another person has to say. Sometimes there are no perfect words, just perfect silences.
13. Donate a variety of school supplies for underprivileged kids.
14. Prepare an unexpected meal for someone who is very caring. For example: a parent.
15. Hold the door open for someone.
16. If a friend needs more than you can give, use social media to ask others to help. Sometimes people want to help but don’t know how.
17. Pay favors forward, and ask the next person to do the same.