Informal acts of service

Left: The friend who came to our rescue!

Left: The friend who came to our rescue!

We signed our kid up for Gymnastics. He loves it and he's good at it. We've always known – and anyone who meets him will nearly instantly learn – that he is a very capable kid, in many ways, but especially with big body movements.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise to me, then, when he took to doing back flips on the rings and summersaults as quickly as he did. 

You can imagine how badly we felt last week when Matt and I got our schedules mixed up and there was no car at home for Matt to drive our kid to what has become the favourite part of his week (after watching Magic School bus, I'm sure).

Enter a long-time friend and neighbour. She was working when I messaged her to ask if we could borrow her car. She would be arriving home just as Matt would have to leave to get to gymnastics and said we could borrow her car. She even dropped the car off at our place and walked home!

Volunteering – whether it's with an official organization or informally by helping out a friend in small and meaningful ways – is what one Indigenous man referred to as "a way of life" in this CBC article after his family was awarded the Nova Scotia's Family Volunteering Award.

"It's in our culture," said Tom, who said he was "surprised" to learn the family had been singled out for their efforts. "You know, you're always asked to help out your fellow man, your elders, other people. You don't even consider it volunteering, it's a way of life."

A message I will remember. 

An added bonus to doing these acts of service is in something Warnick talked about earlier in the book: Feeling like we can rely on neighbours can increase place attachment and help us feel at home wherever we are! 

Was there a time when an informal act of service saved your day or just made you feel a bit better?

This post was originally posted on in May 2018 as part of a chapter-by-chapter review of the book “This is where you belong: Finding home wherever you are.” That website no longer exists, but I have migrated the posts here

Jen Vasic