When I was in high school a friend’s mom, who was married to the base Chaplin paid me the sweetest compliment that has stuck with me ever since and shaped how I try to lead my life. She told me I had a servant’s heart, and that she could see my faith in action. I don’t know that many other compliments can both fill you you up and humble you as quickly.
Growing up, one of the tenants of the Air Force that my dad really worked to install in us kids was service before self. He encouraged us from a young age to seek ways to serve others in our life and our community. I remember going to the soup kitchen, raking leaves for neighbors, picking up trash along our favorite trails, making breads and cookies for airman who had to work holidays in the missile silos or guarding the gate. There was always some way we were doing something to try and brighten someone else’s day.
In college, philanthropy was a big reason I joined Greek life, and an even bigger reason why I chose the fraternity I did. Kappa Alpha Theta’s national philanthropy since 1989 has been CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, who act as the voice for children in foster care to make sure their needs are heard and that they have a voice in the system. Raising money, making blankets, holding teddy bear drives, all to give these kids something that was theirs and the best opportunity to have a stable support system. When family is take away, kids are left so vulnerable, so to support an organization that fights for them is amazing!
When I graduated college, the first ways I plugged into my community were through service. I became an advisor to the local collegiate chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, I volunteered at different nonprofits to help man phones or organize volunteer contact information. I also plugged into my church, a place I always found ways to serve since childhood, and became a youth ministry leader for middle and high school, and a high school theology of the body teacher. Service kept me busy, helped me connect with new friends, and eventually landed me a job at one of the nonprofits where I had volunteered.
Service to others is so important! It doesn’t have to be big or flashy. It doesn’t have to cost you anything other then time. It isn’t about you, but about the community you cultivate and reside in. Look for small acts that you can do for neighbors or your husband. Service is just a hands on language of love.