Originally published: April 5, 2011
There are so many wonderful reasons to take part. The joy of contributing, making others feel better, meeting new people, learning a skill, putting a smile on a strangers’ face, leadership development, selfless giving.
Volunteering is a richly rewarding experience, no matter your age, gender, background or religion.
I’ve done it and continue to do so in a variety of areas of my life and encourage my kids to do the same. Not everything in life has to be tied to a tangible or monetary reward.
I do have a question though. When did volunteering become so political? You know offering one’s services with the goal/desire/explicit intent of getting something in return.
It’s pretty pervasive, selfish, unfair and frankly, irritating.
Volunteering is not a vehicle for parents to pave the way for their kids success. It’s not a means of scoring points with key decision-makers. Nor is it a tool to wield against others to gain the upper hand on them.
Individuals who choose to use volunteering for any of the above purposes are, as far as I’m concerned, engaging in bullying tactics. After all isn’t bullying largely about influence and power?
Whatever happened to giving willingly, without expecting anything in return? Let us resurrect that, shall we.
We talk a lot about the “age of entitlement” these days amongst the younger generation. I say the parents of these kids take a look in the mirror. Sure there are exceptions, those people who epitomize the true meaning of contributing a selfless act of kindness — but there are others who feel the time, effort or expertise they donate should be compensated. This is a service, most certainly not volunteering.
And one more thing, parents who are in denial about the true spirit of their acts of kindness need to understand that their kids are watching, listening and taking notes. The last thing the world needs is more self-absorbed people. Wouldn’t you agree?