I was listening to CFRB and caught the last part of an interesting story.
Jerry Agar was talking about a very overweight man who wanted to start swimming this summer so that he could lose some weight. However, he was very self conscious of his looks and knew that if he went to a public pool, people would make fun of him. He decided to place an ad in Kijiji, offering his time to do some work, in exchange for the use of someone’s private pool.
It didn’t take long for someone to respond to the ad – it happened that this family lived in the same neighbourhood and they had an indoor pool. They were pleased to be able to help this man with his weight loss goal by giving him access to their pool, in exchange for him accepting responsibility for cleaning and taking care of the pool, a chore that this family’s children really did not enjoy doing every week.
It was a win/win situation. Done deal. Great idea.
I loved everything about this situation. I appreciated the simple and creative exchange of services. This transaction is a wonderful example of social media bringing community together and building friendships. The result of it all was a physically healthier man and an emotionally satisfied family who spontaneously answered the call and helped another individual…and it didn’t cost a cent.
It takes a little time to creatively serve others. People don’t want to be a “charity case” but they need help – we could all do with a little help. It gave me an idea.
OVERFLOW is an amazing group of older and younger women with whom I meet. In July, the fourteen of us are going to help a single mother in our neighbourhood. We’re going to do whatever needs to get done – windows, washing the car inside and out, lawn care, cleaning floors, painting – and in exchange, she and her boat are going to help my husband and our boat take all these women waterskiing and tubing after the work is done. It’s a win/win situation and we will all be the better for it.
In our culture, we are quick to pay for everything. It’s a short cut in a crazy busy world. Money keeps the transaction impersonal. You don’t need to get involved. What if we slowed down long enough to exchange skills and in the midst of doing so, met needs and developed ongoing relationships? You cut my hair, I’ll do your taxes. Young single guy cuts his elderly neighbour’s lawn, they make dinner for him once a week. Susan takes care of her work colleague’s dog while he’s on holidays, he tutor’s Sue’s daughter in math for a week.
I know, I know… you can’t do this all the time…but you could do it some of the time, right? Someone once wisely told me, “Don’t rob others the opportunity to serve you and take every opportunity to serve others.”
I like that.