In the Summertime was one one of my favorite songs when it came out. Well, it is summertime (officially). It’s actually cooler today than it has been lately.
The Chamber of Commerce, FLPP, PPSNYS and my networking group all have had problems getting people to participate. This got me thinking… what would the world be like without volunteers?
Talking to people in other volunteer organizations, it appears we’re heading that way. Could you imagine what it would be like of those services went away completely, or if you had to pay for them.
A friend who is a volunteer fireman said they were supposed to have 5 firefighters show up to an alarm, and only two did. Neither one of the two were qualified to drive the truck. This is a scare preview on where the millenials are heading.
What’s in it for Me
The “What’s in it for me” attitude doesn’t end well. Selfless people ask, “How can I help? What can I do?” Selfish people ask, “What’s in it for me? What do I get out of this?” As a result, a world full of selfish people becomes corrupt, evil, warmongering, avarice, to list a few of its attributes.
I hear people use the justification “what would Jesus do” when someone calls them out on their selfish behavior. First, read the scriptures. When confronted by a selfish man, Jesus told him, “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” The rich man wasn’t happy with that answer.
On a personal note, I sometimes think myself too selfish with my time and means. Yet, when you show up to a group function, where several more people should be, you have to remind yourself, “at least I’m here.”
That’s not to say something hasn’t come up in other people’s lives. But, when it is the same people volunteering again, and again, and the others are not, you have to think that they just don’t want to help. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s the case, and I try to be charitable and non-judgemental, but repeated behaviors tend to solidify the assumption that they don’t care.
To Each Their Own
There’s also the other side of things. People tend to volunteer for what they do best or enjoy doing — even it it is work. I have no problem with that. You’re not going to have me volunteering to repair someone’s car because I wouldn’t know where to start these days. Likewise, someone might not volunteer to tear off someone’s roof because they feel unsteady on their feet.
It’s the repeat offenders (and there seems to be more and more of them each day) wherein lies the problem. It’s people who never do anything for anyone except themselves. I worry about that. The more people in the world who ask, “What’s in it for me?”, the more precarious the future.
About 10 or 11 years ago, I was talking to a young adult. She was telling me about her ambitions and goals. I said to her, “That all sounds great, but don’t forget to take time everyday to serve someone else.”
She had a blank look in her face. So I explained it can be organized, like volunteering for a local charity, or it can be a daily goal to find someone who looks like they need help and go offer help. The sample I gave was a family who bought a bed at Goodwill and it wouldn’t fit through the door. The Goodwill store didn’t have any tools to disassemble the bed.
I was close by and could hear the customer venting his frustration that they wouldn’t have a way for him to get the bed out of the store. My thought was they needed help. So, I approached the customer and said to him, “I’m sure my boss will understand if I’m late getting back to work. I have some tools in my truck. I’ll go get them and we’ll disassemble this bed.”
So, we did. The clerk stood by watching. Once the bed was disassembled, I looked at the clerk and said, “You are going to help carry this out, aren’t you?”
The three of us got the bed loaded in the man’s van. I returned to work feeling like I had made a positive difference in that family’s life.
I think the story fell on the young lady’s deaf ears. She had no clue.
I’m saddened how selfish the world is getting. Thank goodness for the gospel that teaches people to be selfless. Children being brought up in light and truth are the real future.