Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You

In grade 5, when I was 10, someone came in to our class to speak about St. John's Ambulance. My friend and I were stoked. We started attending weekly meetings and became first aid volunteers. A few months into it, she lost interest, but I kept up for 2 years.  

In grade 6, I learned about John F. Kennedy's speech where he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."  As a Canadian, that statement from an American president changed my life. I believe in it. It became my personal philosophy. I chose to give more to my community than I took out.

Soon, I was a Victorian Order of Nurses volunteer. Then it was a candy striper at my favorite hospital - delivering flowers and manning the children's floor playroom.  I've been a tutor, sunday school teacher, saturday morning teacher, youth and young adult leader. I've run camera, done nursery, been a counselor, been an administrator, created newsletters, and more. All on volunteer basis.

When I started with the Big Sister organization, that marked my transition into committees and boards. I have been on committees and boards for drug and alcohol programs, crisis pregnancy centers, adoption coalitions, and churches. 

Last fall, I felt the winds changing. After 28 years of asking what I can do for my country by giving more to my community than I received, I felt it was time for a break. I mulled it over for a couple of months. Then, in January, I made my announcements. I was going to resign my positions and take a break from volunteering for 1 year. I figured I might only last 6 months, but I had to give it a try. 

It's been 4 months. Not every day is easy. I sometimes find myself thinking of ways I can assist others and make a difference in my community. But then I get a gentle reminder. This is my time to give to my husband and to my children. This is my time to spend on myself. Right now, that is the way it should be and I'm enjoying it. But just for a season.

Now, I ask you. Are you giving more to your community than you are receiving? Are you giving anything to your community? 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Simone,
AMEN to you. I am proud of you. To answer your question - As for me, and where I am in my life I should be giving more to my country to leave it a better place, but as of today I feel I have nothing to give. In other words I gave when I should have been doing what you are doing, now when I could be giving I am drained.
Anonymous #2

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I used to give a great deal to my community, and then I found I really needed to give to my family.

Now I'm starting to rev up giving back to community again. I think when you have kids, things fluctuate.