Everybody can serve.
January 9, 2009
Joyce and I spent a lot of time talking this week about where the time for volunteering comes from in the lives of Americans. Joyce said to me,
Volunteering actually competes with going to the movies or playing a videogame or futzing around on Facebook for a couple of hours, but most volunteer applications are built on the assumption that volunteering competes with a full-time job.
I agree that for most Americans, volunteer time comes out of leisure time. When I get up on Saturday morning, I sometimes think to myself, “Do I want to see a movie?” If so, I check the listings, and find a movie I think I would enjoy.
Sometimes I go alone. Sometimes I go with my wife. Sometimes I go with friends. Sometimes I go with professional colleagues. Sometimes it’s a matinee, and sometimes it’s at night. Sometimes I don’t like the movie, but usually I enjoy it. Recently I’ve enjoyed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire. And once I leave the theater, I am happy and go back to my busy working life.
I agree with Joyce that volunteering should be the same way. Find something that interests you. Go do it alone, or with a loved one, or with friends, or with professional colleagues. Spend a few hours. And once you leave, be content and go back to your busy life.
Everybody has leisure time. So everybody can serve.
If we all do this — even just a few hours a year — our country will be a better place. The world will be a better place.
And then make 2009 a year in which you volunteer. Because when you volunteer, you serve. And when you serve, you can be great.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said,
In 2009, many people will serve. Colin Powell endorses a new service initiative USAService.org that will act as a Craigslist for service opportunities. I myself have pledged to serve at least 50 hours this year. And we at Renkoo hope you pledge to serve, too.