I recently took my boys on a service vacation. We set out to serve some of our family and friends by loading up our van with tools and going on a 10 day 2000 mile road trip. We stayed for a few days at 3 different homes to do odd jobs for free. Well I did have two hungry growing boys with me so maybe not totally free.

What kinds of stuff did we do? It would be hard to list everything. All in all, we performed around 100 small jobs at three different homes.

At stop number one we fixed a wobbly kitchen sink, fixed up an old doggie door, replaced sink stoppers, and mended a ceiling fan, and fence latch. We also cleaned light fixtures, baseboards, fans, and the dryer vent. By chance or providence, we were able to replace another visiting family member’s alternator. The alternator just happened to go out while we were there with our tools.

Some examples of service at our other stops include repairing drywall and several broken things such as hinges, light switches, icemaker, sprinkler valve, windows, and a sliding door. We cleaned some carpet and replaced caulking and smoke alarms as well as lots of other odd jobs.

What we gained was the joy of service. I wanted my boys to feel what it is like to give service to others and I wanted them to have a chance to spend time around some of our wonderful extended family. Their great examples are sure to inspire my boys to better living.

Yesterday I was listening to a talk by a researcher who studied happiness and how service and giving brought greater happiness to the givers of service. She discovered that one of the key factors was being able to connect how our service or money donations make a difference in the lives of those who receive it. (click here to listen to the talk)

I am grateful for the opportunity to know that there are a few things that work a little better in the homes of the people I love. What could be better than the simple joy of serving and improving the world around us? That is all about an easy life and a happy life.

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