Being of Service This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Being of service can mean joining the armed forces or just helping an older woman unload her groceries. It can mean reporting the news or serving meals. The list is endless; there is no one way to be of service, no clear-cut path to follow, no instruction manual to buy. There is only you, your life, and how you choose to live it.

But there is inspiration. And Jeffery Griffith was exactly that. He was a man of passion, a man who had the desire to achieve greatness. He wasn’t one to back away from duty or shirk responsibility. He served and he served and he served. His life was about helping others and even after his death in October, he still managed to give.

The question you should be asking isn’t “How do I serve?” Rather it should be “How do I serve like Jeff?” You could consider this piece a cheat sheet for greatness, or a how-to speech you won’t find anywhere else. If you want to live life by giving it all you’ve got, then live like Jeffery Griffith.

Fresh out of high school, Jeff served his country by joining the Army. Consider this step one: Do something you believe in. My uncle believed in protecting his home, his country. He believed in rights for all and did what he could to preserve them. That is step one: Have heart, have passion.

Step two: Love. It may sound silly to consider love a requirement for providing service, but it is. Why should anyone care if you don’t? Jeff certainly loved. He loved everything about life: his wife, his three children, his parents and his sisters. He loved his nieces and nephews, and he loved his job at the federal prison. And like Jeff, you must always show your love. It may be difficult to say the words, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking the five minutes to call your mother and wish her a happy birthday. You have to be loyal, too. Jeff was loyal; loyal to the end, you might say. He stood behind those who were important to him.

Compassion is important. Step three: Care about others and what they need. Our society is selfish, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. Be considerate of what people feel. Know that everything comes full circle, and one day you could need help. Don’t rely on others to do the helping for you, take initiative. See someone with car trouble? Give them a hand; Jeff always did. You’ll find that in some way, shape or form, your kindness will be returned.

Step four, the most important step: Live. I don’t mean breathe air, I mean do the things you want to do and let nothing stand in your way. There is no greater service than living the life you have been given. Be happy. Take risks. I am both saddened and joyful to say that my uncle Jeff did what he loved - and he died doing what he loved, too. He knew the risks of riding motorcycles, but he did it because he loved it. Although it took his life, I know he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Now for the final step: Give selflessly. At the end, Jeff still managed to give. He donated his organs and saved lives even in death. That is truly giving without asking for payment. No one made him sign the donor card; he chose to do it because he desperately wanted to help. And he did.

You might say you never knew this man, but you do. Look around. You’ll see the police officers, the firefighters, the doctors, and the troops fighting overseas. And less visible to the eye, you’ll see the volunteers, the organ donors, the courtesy clerks, and the waiters. These are the Jeffery Griffiths of today. Serve like them.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 9:27 pm
i love this so much!
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