Many people view a successful life in terms of materialism and professional success.
They view society as something that bestows wealth without expecting anything in return.
However, much is expected from those who have received much. In other words, to paraphrase John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your community can do for you, but ask what you can do for your community.”
Many young people get involved in community service to boost their school record for their college admissions or their resume for job offers. However, the lucky ones learn how helping others for its own sake is one of the best ways to enrich life. When we focus on giving back to the community that gave us so much, we will truly embody the highest principle of democracy.
It is everyone’s responsibility to participate in community service.
The words morality, duty, ethics, empathy, care, generosity, altruism, goodness, kindness, humility and love come to my mind when talking about community service or its volunteers.
Volunteerism, quality volunteerism, long-term volunteerism is going to be the key to meeting most of the “soft” needs of the quietly desperate and invisible people of our society.
Volunteerism, and community service should be driven by the love of one’s fellow citizens and by compassion and sympathy. If we go in to community service with our eyes wide open and our emotions under control, it is the volunteer who receives more than the beneficiary.
Working outside one’s tiny psycho-cultural and socioeconomic realities broadens the volunteer in ways that can never be predicted. One grows more sophisticated socially and culturally; one develops a much deeper understanding of diversity and one learns to develop qualities and skills that will make a better human being.
In closing, it is our social, ethical and civic duty to make an extra effort, to get beyond our own selfish concerns and give of ourselves without asking for anything in return. The proof that we are good community is the number of volunteers who serve.
May I share a beautiful poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson on the meaning of living a successful life?
What is Success?
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
To laugh often and much,
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
The earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have loved;
This is to have succeeded.
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