Use Your Superpower To Help Others

Nyle DeMarco is a new rising star in the modeling industry – even though he’s deaf. Nyle didn’t see himself as handicapped when he tried out for Tyra Banks’ TV show, America’s Next Top Model. He won that competition. Then he challenged everyone’s ideas about what deaf people can do when he competed in and became the mirror ball winner on Dancing With the Stars. In one episode, he and his professional dance mentor Peta decided to present their version of a ballroom dance with a small section of silence in it. The men dancing with Nyle in simultaneous movement during the silent segment pulled it off, but they found it more difficult than they anticipated. Nyle showed that his ability to learn a dance without music was better than their ability to learn a dance without music. And Nyle did it every week. Because he turned his deafness into a superpower instead of succumbing to the pressure to see it as a weakness, he has inspired millions of people.  

Do you have an ability that sets you apart from others? When you and I stop seeing ourselves as weak, we can accomplish things no one but God could imagine. Weakness might be what others see in us, but we can succeed because of what God sees in us. 

Today’s goal is: Use your special abilities to help or inspire others. 

How can you benefit others with something you do well? Can you tutor someone who is learning a foreign language? Can you help with a neighborhood soccer team?  

I have a cousin who teaches kids to surf as a part of their Vacation Bible School experience. I have never taught kids to surf mostly because I don’t know how to surf. That’s not my superpower. I think that’s a cool ministry to be a part of, and I wish I had that talent, but I have to use whatever I do well to help and inspire others. 

If you think you don’t have a superpower, you might just need a change of perspective. Look for your superpower. Use that ability to benefit those around you. The time and effort you spend helping or inspiring others is worth it.

Setting The Example

I started this blog as my encouragement for us all to stay active in the lives of those around us. But when I see people fleeing from their homes because of flooding or other destruction, it makes me want to help more.

Years ago, my mom's house was in the path of a flood. She had some sand delivered to her yard so she and her family and friends could fill bags with sand and pack them up against the plastic she wrapped the bottom half of her house with. I'm sure I wasn't the only one with sore muscles that day. Many people were there offering to help.

This year when the Brazos River flooded, my mom's house had two to three inches of water in it. That doesn't sound like much, but she still has to replace walls and flooring. I wasn't able to help her this year because I was doing something else. But I sent my best gift: my two kind, strong, able-bodied children.

Some of her friends had a lot more water in their homes than my mom did. But the funny thing is, while her friends were staying at someone else's house until they were able to go back to their home, they were still helping others. They weren't letting their own disaster stop them from showing concern for other people.

Today's goal is: Bump it up a notch!

When you see a someone else's need, decide if you have the ability to help them. If you can't help, pray. If you can help, grab a friend and make it a bigger gift.

When you are being friendly, caring, daring, determined, and generous, you are setting an example for others as you participate in your community. Don’t think no one will notice. They notice, and they sometimes accept your unspoken challenge without telling you. Your quiet gift of time, effort, prayer, supplies, or money actually improves the chances of others donating or volunteering.

Thank you for making a difference in your world. You are motivating others.




Donate To A Food Bank

When you get hungry, you go to the refrigerator and pull out a snack. What if all you had in the kitchen was a can of tuna and some powdered drink mix? Where would you go for food if you didn’t have enough money to pay the electric bill last month?

You might be surprised at how many people show up at churches and ask for food. But where does the church get their supply?

Food banks supply many people with non-perishable food items. Churches get donations from their members, but some also purchase food for their pantry from a food bank.

Today’s goal is: Donate food to a food bank or a church food ministry.

Organizations who collect items to give to the poor rely on donations. If you can’t donate your time at one of the food banks or churches in your area, then get a bag of rice and a jar of peanut butter while you’re doing your shopping and drop it by a donation site.

It’s easy to buy a few extra items each time you do your grocery shopping. Sometimes you can save money by buying in bulk. Whether you donate two boxes of pasta or twenty cases of canned goods, your generosity helps others in need.

Enjoy knowing you’ve helped.

Happy Birthday To You!

I know I’m not the only one in the world who forgets to send birthday cards to family and friends. Lots of people forget this fabulous opportunity to brighten someone’s day.

My office has a file that stores a variety of birthday cards. Some are specifically for a Grandmother or a sister. Others are fairly generic and could be used for anyone. So I can throw a card in the mail pretty quickly. My problem is remembering when someone’s birthday is coming up.

I got a phone call from a relative who wanted to thank me for sending a birthday card. I thought it was strange that he would call and thank me for something I try to remember to do every year. Then he admitted that it was the only birthday card he got in the mail that year.

Today’s goal is: Send birthday cards to as many of your family and friends as you can.

There are all sorts of calendar alarm systems to remind you of an upcoming birthday. You might have a kitchen calendar, a purse calendar, a hand-held computer, a Blackberry, or a calendar alarm system on your cell phone. Whatever system you use, make sure you list those important birthdays and get the card out on time.

You never know if yours will be the only card they get in the mail.

Be A Guest Speaker

This year in school, there will be opportunities for parents to get involved in classroom projects. Some parents volunteer to help with specific areas of interest, things they excel in or have special knowledge about.

Some retired men and women might be interested in being a guest speaker for an afternoon of interesting experiments or story-telling.

Last year, my son’s class learned about geology from one of his friends’ parents. Mr. Smith works as a geologist at an oil and gas company and took a day off to give a hands-on presentation. Thanks, Mr. Smith. You rock!

I know teachers welcome guest speakers who pique the interest of their students.

Today’s goal is: Volunteer to be a guest speaker at a local school.

Is there something you’ve studied and can share with kids in a memorable way? I’ll bet there is. Kids often find stories of an older generation fascinating. The history that was lived by their grandparents or great-grandparents stirs their imagination and brings “old facts” of history into reality.

My husband’s grandmother lived in a covered wagon during her childhood. My kids have never seen a real covered wagon. How much more does history come to life when you know someone who’s lived it?

Whether you’re an artist, geologist, chef, or a fan of classic literature, you have special knowledge that will thrill a young audience.

Help A School Teacher

What if you were your child’s teacher? What if you had a million things to do before school started tomorrow? What if someone offered to help do tasks that didn’t require your personal attention?

You can be that caring individual that shows up with 20 to 30 minutes of spare time to help out with an extra pair of hands.

Today’s goal is: Offer to help your child’s teacher organize pieces of a school project.

When the school year is beginning and there are a lot of things every teacher needs help with, a volunteer is a beautiful sight. My kids’ teachers had sign up sheets to help parents know the areas of need. One teacher needed a library resource parent. Another needed a holiday party organizer. I chose to sign up for the book fair parent team.

If working on an after-school project for your kids’ teacher doesn’t fit your schedule, ask about another area of need. There’s always room for one more caring helper.

Hello! Good to see you.

My son watches Spongebob Squarepants – so I occasionally do, too. I learn things about people when watching characters interact. Friendly characters tend to stand out. When Spongebob takes a walk, he waves to people and says hello.

I’ve also heard of other people – real people – that stand out because they’re friendly. There was a man who couldn’t walk down the street, but that didn’t stop him. He sat on his front porch and waved and said hello to everyone that passed by him, whether they traveled by car, bicycle, or on foot.

I remember when my kids were around three or four years old, they stood in the grassy front yard of my mother’s house and waved to all the cars on the adjacent highway. She lives on a curve in the road, so the kids were very visible. I thought it was funny (and so did the kids) that quite a lot of the cars and trucks honked as they passed.

Today’s goal is: Wave at the people in your neighborhood as you travel past them or as they travel past you.

Being friendly in your neighborhood is a good way to get to know your neighbors.

Flowers

One day, for no apparent reason, my husband surprised me with a bouquet of flowers. It wasn't my birthday, not Mother's Day, not my wedding anniversary, I wasn't sick, and he wasn't apologizing for anything.

I love getting flowers, especially for no other reason than to say, "I love you."

Do you have a mother, sister, child, or friend who enjoys flowers? Would a small gift change their day for the better?

Today's goal is: Pick out someone who might enjoy a small bouquet - and make sure they hear the words, "I love you" when you give the flowers.

This is an easy way to cheer someone up. When you brighten someone else's face with a gift, your day immediately seems better.

Be A Regular Attender

Have you been sitting around feeling guilty every Sunday morning because you know you should be in church, but aren’t?

My dad raised us to go to church every Sunday, whether you stayed out too late on Saturday or not. I had friends there, so I didn’t complain. I’ve grown up now and recognize the wisdom of regular church attendance. Eventually, the power of God’s presence will sink all the way into your heart. I love it when people give up on fighting against God.

And that’s really what we want. We want God’s power to help us change from where we are to where we can be. He can elevate our goals and help us reach them.

Today’s goal is: Go to church.

Find a good local church. Pay attention and take notes. If something in the sermon sounds a little off, go home and look up the subject in your Bible. Find out if the pastor got it right, but be merciful. All speakers make mistakes. If the pastor keeps making the same mistake, ask for an appointment and discuss it. If you feel the pastor isn't following God, try a different church. There are a lot of church options. And a lot of different pastors.

As a regular attender, you’ll see the same church from a few different angles. Some days everyone will be friendly and the choir will sing exactly what you needed to hear. Other days, well, you know. We all have our off days. The key to finding the right church and staying there is knowing God wants you there. Pray and find the right one for you.

If you’re waiting for the perfect church, you’ll never find it. But you may find one that offers training in the word of God, a good prayer ministry, and a way to make and maintain Christian friendships.

You can even make a good church great by joining the ranks of the volunteers. Ask around to see where the needs are. If one opportunity isn’t your cup of tea, try another. Keep an open mind. You may be surprised when you find a church-based volunteering opportunity that you've never tried is exactly right for you.

Be determined to enhance your church because your church is designed to enhance you.

Dare to be a Substitute Teacher

When it’s summer and time for families to go on a vacation, what do Sunday School teachers do? Who steps in when they need to get away?

They ask for volunteers.

I used to teach Sunday School classes. My husband and I didn’t have any children at the time I was asked to substitute in the high school classroom. I’d never done that before, but I accepted the challenge.

When I wasn’t teaching in the high school class, I taught an adult class. The ages were different, but the attitude was the same. They didn’t expect perfection from me, but they did expect me to speak from my heart about real issues that they had to deal with on a daily basis. No one wanted to waste time in a class that didn't meet their needs. I wanted my words to matter to them, so I studied.

I looked up Bible verses on topics they were interested in. I wrote an outline and presented it in class. I often had a good response from them at the end of our time together.

If your child’s Sunday school class teacher needs a break or is going on a vacation, you can ask to substitute during the teacher’s absence. It wouldn’t mess you up to prayerfully prepare a lesson from your own experience.

Today’s goal is: Ask a Sunday School teacher if you can bring a lesson to give them a break for a week.

You can study the Bible to create a brief lesson based on events in your past. Maybe these were mistakes you learned from or events you had success with. The youth of today will be making the same decisions that we faced. Ultimately, they will thank us for giving them a reason to make the right decision.

If you enjoy volunteering your time, you could find out if there is a list of substitute teachers and put your name on it. Or you could find a teacher who wants to do a monthly trade-off. You could teach one month, and they could teach the next.

You will never know if you’ll like it unless you give it a try.