I believe in being of service to others. It’s the right thing to do and I was taught that at an early age. I grew up watching my mother volunteer at my school, doing everything from baking cakes for the school carnival, to serving on the PTA, to being a room mother. She volunteered to drive kids to choir practice and swim team. She went on field trips (including one memorable one to a turkey farm where I learned that my mother can do a mean turkey gobble that attracted the flock!) and took scared kids home with us during a tornado emergency. It was just what you do.
I remember years ago not feeling I was doing enough service. I am not sure who I thought was keeping track of this, but I felt like I should be doing more. In an effort to both prove that theory to myself and “them”, whoever they were, I took the time to assess where I was spending my time – and where I could fit in some type of volunteer activity. I noted that in addition to being a mother and wife and working full-time, I was also running a committee at the PTO, teaching Sunday School and participating in a carpool for kids sporting activities. Sure, I could have squeezed in yet another commitment somewhere, but why did I feel like I needed to do that?
I know people who serve on multiple boards, volunteer at their church or synagogue, and do other volunteer activities. If that works for them, fabulous! Volunteering is admirable and necessary and I bless those who do it. I can find myself starting to slip into a “compare mentality” when I look at their life versus mine. I start thinking I am not doing enough – and am back to that concept that “they” are keeping track. I have learned, when I find myself going there, to pull myself back to the here and now. I am service to others in my own way. I choose to live my live in kindness, finding small ways each day to assist another person. I don’t need to fill my resume with volunteer positions. I choose to live well, not merely look good.
When being of service, start with yourself. How can you be kind and caring to you? If you learn to do that, extending outward to others becomes natural. It is about being of service, not doing service. As always, it’s all about the be…