Friday, November 11, 2011

Free* - week 1, day 4

Whoops. It will be past midnight when I post this, but it's been a busy day. I volunteered at the Y tonight and didn't get home until around 9. The hours between 9 and now somehow magically slipped away, as they often do.

So here I sit, trying to come up with something, anything to say in this post that I haven't said at some point before.

So I'm going to talk about volunteering.

Tonight someone asked me why I 'work for free'. I don't really see it that way. I've mentioned before that I do not want my kids to grow up with a misplaced sense of entitlement. It's a battle. The problem is that I'm both the cause and the solution.

I want to give my kids a good life. But what defines good? I've seen how giving a kid everything they want can backfire. Lucky for you, I'm not planning to go into details. You're welcome. :)

I want my kids to realize how lucky they are. We don't have to worry about a roof over our head, food to put in our belly, or how to pay for a doctor if we get sick. We have so many extras. So many, in fact, I'm not sure the kids even recognize any of it as extras.

Lately, the kids have developed a habit of asking, "Do I get something special?" whenever they've done well at something and Robert and I are praising them. While I firmly believe that my kids are wonderful kids and I want them to know that I think so, I don't want them to think that entitles them to stuff or dessert or whatever. But they wouldn't think so in the first place if I hadn't somehow planted the idea.

See my dilemma?

Which leads me back to volunteering. I hope that by being around all different types of kids - some well off, some not, and lots in between - that my kids will develop empathy and a sense of equality and the idea that everyone deserves to be treated as such. No matter what the differences in people, everyone deserves to be treated with respect, empathy, and kindness.

I hope that's what I'm showing them.

So no, I'm not 'working for free'. I hope what I'm doing is showing my kids that you can contribute and make a difference simply by being involved. And often, what you give is automatically paid back (times 1,000) in how it makes you feel and how it changes your own outlook.

At least, that's how volunteering has worked for me.

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