Monday, April 11, 2011

Celebrating the Nation's Volunteers

Long, long ago, in a place called America’s Heart Land, a young fella was raised in a typical family of six, in a nice middle class family neighborhood where it was safe to leave your doors unlock to your home and car.  Often, car keys could be found in the car as well.  As Dad would say, ‘a locked door only keeps the honest crook out’.  Sounded a bit strange then, but as I got older, made a lot of sense. 

Volunteering to help others was just the normal thing to do.  No big fanfare, no photographers, no news or magazines folks around to make a big deal about it – it was how we were raised.  Folks would call if they needed help and we would all pitch in and help – be it moving something, clearing a field, getting the ball field ready for play, painting or whatever, it was and is the right thing to do.

In the last neighborhood where I lived before joining the navy, there were several families with children our age and we worked and played together.  First thing in the morning after breakfast was to do our daily chores: making your bed; cleaning up the room; vacuum the floors or mop the kitchen; wash and dry the dishes (we were the family dishwasher); take out the trash; feed the animals and what other chores that needed to be done.  Then it was outside to accomplish any chores that needed to be done – cutting the grass, racking leaves, shoveling snow. Washing the cars, windows, or what every. We learned quickly that working together, they were finished sooner, done better and we enjoyed doing them, time to have fun and doing things together.  There were a couple of elderly couples on our street and a single mom (Mrs. Harris) who we took care of as part of our daily routines.  They never paid us, nor did we expect them to do so.  Mrs. Harris was a stay-at-home mom, who watched over all of us (unbeknownst to us, our parents paid her for keeping an eye on us and provide food and clothing).

We also helped the elderly with taking in their groceries, doing things around their homes like taking the trash out, moving furniture, washing windows and stuff like that.  We also pitched out Sunday mornings a church – they were just doing the right thing. 

Granny was big on pitching in and helping others and we wanted to help and all of us still continue that practice today.  Each summer, we would all get together, grandkids, cousins and friends to help Granny or one of her neighbor’s in some way.  It was good to get us kids out of the city and into the country, do something good for someone and have a good time doing it.  Those are still fond memories and when we gather from time to time, we reflect on the “good old days” that brings a smile to our face and warms our hearts.

These habits have been a key part to our foundation in life, part of our core values, and knowing the importance of helping others – simply pitch in and do it!  They have served me well throughout my life and are part of the reason for doing this Blog – in some small measure – to help others help themselves.

Please share some of your stories about volunteering – we would love to read them.

In our next post on Volunteering, we will provide some additional links you can read that have a ton of worthwhile information.  One such article is from USA Weekend on last years “Make a Difference Day” and the national awards luncheon this Thursday, April 14 in Washington, D.C.

1 comment:

  1. Great today don't do stuff like that anymore...I wonder why? But then when you think about how crazy people are today, it's not considered safe to turn your kids loose anymore. Must be why kids today stay home and play video games. hmmmm...may need to think on that some more. Thanks for sharing your memories.