I don't know how many of you have watched vlogbrothers on YouTube, or even heard of them. It's basically two brothers, John Green (of "The Fault in Our Stars" fame, now) and Hank Green who in 2007 decided to start communicating only through video for a year. It became so popular that they just kept going, and to this day they still make videos. I've been watching through the first year recently, and one of the first things they started talking about was a pretty simple concept: Decreasing world suck.
This basically means just making the world a better place, even in little ways. It could be recycling, or giving money to charities, or giving volunteer time to organizations you want to support. It could just be about being a nice person, instead of one of those people. Really, even if it's the littlest thing you could do, as long as it's positive, you too could be part of the fight to decrease world suck!
I was listening to NPR today on my way to work, and I just caught the end of this segment as they looked at different studies on spending. The question was asked, Can Money Buy You Happiness? How does this tie in with decreasing world suck? Well, the answer was surprisingly, yes but only if you spend it on someone else. You can listen to the whole segment here.
I found it very interesting. The more you give of yourself, the better you feel, or so they think. And this is proven by sociology. Like, real science.
It's funny to me, because this is totally how my church preaches about tithing. They're not strict on the 10% bit, though they do acknowledge the Biblical precedent for it. They just point out that giving is a way to not only bless God, but bless yourself. For me, tithing is not something I do so I can feel good about myself. It's something I do because I like what my church is doing, and I want to support them both with their bills and with the extra stuff that makes us so great. And it's something I do out of obedience, yes. It's also because literally every month when I'm down to the wire and have hundreds of dollars of payments that I can't make (though Lord willing with a job, that will cease to be the case) the money comes through.
Sometimes it's with my family having enough extra to help me out, with the understanding that I will be taking care of them in their old age. Sometimes it's people handing me hundred dollar bills at church, out of the blue. Last December when I couldn't buy food, I ended up on the same night with $50 cash and a car full of groceries that someone gave me. It was literally more than I could use or store, so I was able to call a friend who was also low on food money over and give them some. This summer, I lost a job and got an offer for one the same day, which was only for a month, but the money got me through two months.
That's just my experience with tithing, in particular. It's a way that I personally decrease world suck, because my church as a whole is dedicated to that sort of thing.
My point is that there are lots of ways. I mean, I think that even the littlest things count. Today, I sat with a kid who was struggling with his math homework and told him over and over that he wasn't dumb and he could do it. I think that counts. I think just giving someone a compliment on their clothing or how their hair looks totally counts.
You change the world by changing people. Changing one person's life can have an effect on everyone else that person comes in contact with. And really, changing just one person's life for the better can be as simple as buying them coffee one day.
So I challenge you to make it a point this holiday season to decrease world suck! Buy someone a warm beverage! Be nice to that stressed out retail worker! Pay for someone's groceries if you have the means! And then, because you're awesome, do it after the holidays too!