The power of (knowing) people

Recently while attending a confirmation class with my daughter, everyone took the Gary Chapman 5 Love Languages test. My results came back with Acts of Service as number one. It got me thinking about the fact that I really do like to do things for people and have them do things for me. A few days later I was clearing my driveway of snow and opted to do the neighbor’s driveway as well; as I concluded my neighbor brought me out a hot cup of coffee in appreciation. It was a thoughtful gesture and in one blissful moment I was performing and receiving and act of service.

This got me thinking about the power of being good neighbor and relationships in general. It occurred to me that having relationships and being connected to other people is a great way to be “green”. Over the years I have borrowed countless tools and items I did not want to go buy. My quick recollection of items includes a chainsaw, power washer, riding lawn mower with trailer, hole saw drill bits, an angle grinder, a ladder, and human power to move furniture. The same people who lend me items have borrowed my lawnmower, leaf blower, table and chairs, computer skills, car, nail gun, and roof rake. What I like best is that no one is keeping score and for things that are used rarely, sharing them seems like a great option. Three of my neighbors have taken this mentality to the next level; several years ago they all went in together and bought a riding lawn mower. They share the maintenance costs and two of them avoid having to store a big riding mower. The system might not always be perfect, but they are leveraging an effective cost sharing model.

I have not always been the best neighbor, brother, son, husband, father, or friend and at different times in my life have had visions of living very isolated and independent, but then I recall I am not very skilled in the areas required for such an existence. The reality is that I need people and people need me and you are likely no different. Go out and connect with someone, borrow or lend something, help a neighbor, offer to carpool, or simply listen to a loved one. While I could dwell on the idea of all this being great for the environment, the true benefit is in creating a network of friends and fulfilling your love for Acts of Service (if you are in to that type of thing). After all, performing an Act of Service can have its benefits.

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