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As school begins again around the US, many campuses feature a new piece of equipment: a buddy bench. These benches on elementary school playgrounds are a place a student can sit to indicate that he or she would like a friend to play with at recess.
Everyone at some point needs a buddy bench, but there isn’t always a tangible place where we can indicate we need a friend. Wearing a sign around our neck with, “I need a friend” or taking out a wanted ad in the local paper don’t sound like promising ideas.
Maybe we can shift the responsibility from the people in need of a friend, to the people who have friendship to give (of course, I’m really talking about the same group of people here). What if all of us were anxiously looking for people to include?
One of my dearest and most rewarding friendships began when my friend Sara asked me to join her making baby food. She was going to be pureeing the life out of some broccoli, and asked if I’d like get in on the action? I brought over my gigantic sweet potato and the rest is friendship-bliss history.
Sara is the first person I’ve known who literally works service into her daily routine. I remember not long after I met her she said, “I look for ways to invite people to do what I’m already doing. I know I’m going to be eating lunch tomorrow, so why not invite someone to eat lunch with me? If I’m headed to the park, I think, who might appreciate a play date?”
Simple service. Are you going to the summer blockbuster movie? Invite someone, maybe they will share their popcorn. Does Fido need a walk around the block? Maybe your neighbor also needs a listening ear. You can do both.
Be a buddy to someone sitting on their own version of a buddy bench. Serve someone by inviting someone to play.
Be inspired to serve. Take the Pearl Pledge today and become a part of a community of people like Sara.