Below is a chapter from Rule #2: Don’t Be an Asshat: An Official Handbook for Raising Parents and Children. Over time we will be posting most of the book, though, should this inspire you to buy a copy, we would not be offended 🙂 Posted chapters can be found in the Table of Contents.

Rule #29: Do things without being asked (Mom)

If I came home one day and found that the living room had been cleaned, the dishes done, the laundry sorted, and the floor vacuumed, I would be stupefied with wonder at what magic had enchanted my house.

This is magic within your grasp.

Seeing a need you can meet and then meeting it without being asked or expecting attention for it is a sign of character. It shows that you observe your world, not just for what you can get from it or how it can entertain you but for how you can improve it and help others around you. This is often very simple. For example, you can:

  • Pick up trash that’s not yours.
  • Help a teacher carry something.
  • Offer a seat to an elder in a crowded room.
  • Bring dinner to a grieving friend.
  • Close a locker left open.
  • Call your grandparents just to say hi.
  • See rule #15.
  • Do any of the chores listed in the first sentence.

Doing things without being asked shows initiative. Instead of waiting to be told what to do, you can jump in with a solution. Many people won’t ask for help but appreciate it when it’s offered. Don’t wait to be asked; work this magic whenever you have the opportunity. You never know; your one kindness may inspire many, many more.

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