Yesterday was the 4th of July and I enjoyed seeing all of the flags decorating the neighborhood. The holidays that occur from May to September (Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day) use patriotism or service as their theme. We thank our military people for their service to our country. This caused me to think about service and how we serve one another and our communities.
As our son was growing up, I spent many hours volunteering at his schools and with his activities. I was the room mother when he was in elementary school and helped in the classrooms as well as field trips and special activities. We helped with the track club (Dad raked the long jump pit and Mom provided snacks and drinks) and we provided spaghetti feeds for the high school cross country team. We carpooled for many families who had trouble getting kids to or from school or activities. The list is much longer, but my point is that when you are raising children, you often find yourself in service of others, not only your children, but other people’s children, teachers, coaches, etc. What happens when the children grow up? Who do you serve and how? If you don’t have children, you may already have found ways to serve others. If you haven’t volunteered, you may consider it.
Our son is a young adult and recently moved out on his own. I now feel like I have more time to volunteer for things I am interested in doing. I recently adopted a section of the Mopac bike trail behind our office building to pick up trash. It is something I have considered doing with our son since he was little. I never felt like we had the time and we didn’t have easy access to the bike trail from our home. It is convenient for me now, as I walk the trail at least once a week and I am at our office building nearly every day.
We just hosted my family reunion last week. We had been asked to do it in the past, but I wanted to wait until our son graduated from high school so I would be sure to have the time to devote to doing it well. It was quite a bit of work in the organizing, communication, shopping and food preparation but it was well worth it and the family was appreciative of our service to them.
The other day, I spent a lot of time assisting my brother in setting up an online account to advertise a commercial property for sale. That same day, I spent time helping my husband and other brother to find and purchase season football tickets. These acts of service were done out of love and I would gladly do them again.
I am a member of a number of organizations and was just installed as an officer in my Toastmasters club again after taking a number of years off in that capacity. Others took over when I was otherwise engaged so I figured it is time for me to lift the burden of others, again. I also write this monthly blog for ATD as another act of service.
Service to others does not have to be on a grand scale, but can be on a small scale by helping one person or a few people. There are many organizations who would love to have volunteers as they can’t operate without the help. Are you involved in organizations, such as ATD, that could benefit from your help? Consider what your interests are, who could benefit from your help, the time you have available and the location. Choose something that you would enjoy supporting. You may choose to do it one time or you may choose an ongoing commitment. Do you like to help animals? Consider the animal shelter, the Cat House, or a rescue organization. Do you prefer to work alone in your service? What about shelving books or preparing them for mailing by volunteering at the library? If you don’t have a lot of time but would prefer to help once a year, what about helping with a race like the Lincoln Marathon? Do you want more of a regularly scheduled act of service? Soup kitchens and the People’s City Mission are always in need of volunteers. Do you like talking with the elderly? What about setting aside time to visit someone in a nursing home? They love to have visitors as many of them don’t have family nearby. Think about how you can give back to the world through service to others. I challenge you to think of something you can do and to take action to serve others this month. You will be glad you did.
This article was posted in the ATD Newsletter for July 2016.