So Western culture has this bad rap about being kinda distant toward people who aren’t already our friends.  It’s nothing mean spirited, we just don’t interact more than we have to with strangers.  It’s just what we do.  But why?  Why aren’t we more friendly and open with people at times when it would be so easy like before class, while waiting in a line,  or when eating?  Well, BYU is doing something about it.  It’s dubbed “redefine service.”  And it’s amazing.  It’s about rethinking the way we view what “service” means.  It’s not just about volunteering at soup kitchens or donating one’s time at a homeless shelter.  Those things are great, they make a difference, and we should pursue them.  But the things that honestly brighten my day the most and make my life joyful are just small things.  Spontaneous things.  Things like a stranger coming up to me and introducing him or herself in a class where I don’t know anyone, a roommate seeing that I’m stressed out about schoolwork and offers to do my portion of the apartment chores, or when I’m rushing off the school and someone just comes up to me and starts helping me scrape the ice caked around my car (or even more joyful, when they offer me a ride!! I LOVE that, no scraping, no parking . . . oh! The elation!)  As was said in a recent conference: Serving others need not come from spectacular events. Often it is the simple daily act that gives comfort, uplifts, encourages, sustains, and brings a smile to others.”1 That’s classic, Christlike service to me. 
     But it’s not just about encouraging people to do small acts of service to those we encounter every day.  It’s also about publicizing the multiplicity of tender mercies that people are already bringing about.  BYU is one of the friendliest places already . . . and we want to get the word out.  We’re collecting stories about all those times someone has reached out to you and made your day, stranger or otherwise.  So please, go to redefineservice.byu.edu right now to join with the hundreds who have already pledged to redefine service to make BYU known not only for things like being “stone-cold sober” or football, but also for being the #1 place in the world to feel welcome.  As you look for those ways, I think you’ll find that service is its own reward and will bring your life to a whole new level of happiness.  As President Hinckley taught:
The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”2
1(Michael J. Teh, “Out of Small Things,” Ensign, Nov 2007,  35–37)
2(Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something, p. 56)
    Again, The Website is redefineservice.byu.edu and we’re still looking for volunteers to help out with a booth we are hosting for the next couple of weeks.  Contact Kelli Haws (801-735-8306) or [email protected] to sign up for a booth time (or for any general questions). 
     And don’t forget to send your small acts of service “moments” to [email protected]

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