Why Give Back?
Giving back may mean something different to everyone. But for me, it means to give your time, energy, resources, or money to an organization, family, or individual who will benefit from it. Now, you may love to give back and practice it regularly, that’s AWESOME! Continue doing so. Others of you may live a crazy life and may just not get around to it. Some see it as a something they feel obligated to do. Honestly, I always looked at it as something that I thought was boring; it was an inconvenience for me. I thought I could find something better to do with my time. I mean what could I possibly do to make a difference? I didn’t have anything against volunteering/giving back, I just didn’t think it was for me. It was something that someone else could do. Well, I can say I was wrong.
One night, the program coordinator of the Lion’s Club in Washington was desperate; she had a package on a bus to Spokane and no one to pick it up. She frantically called the list of emergency volunteers…it was after 1am. She reached a very sleepy man and explained what she needed. The irritated man told her that yes, he had volunteered to be on the contact list, but had specified afternoons and evenings before 8pm, and in good weather only. “It’s 1am and it’s snowing here!” he protested. “I’ll do it just this one, but please, don’t ever call me again.” He got up, and as he was getting dressed, his 13-year-old son came out and asked what he was doing. When he learned that dad had to “run an errand”, he asked to go along. They drove in silence through the snow to the bus station, picked up the package, and drove it to the hospital. On the trip home, the son asked what the package had been. Dad explained that it was tissue from the eyes of someone who had died, and that tissue was going to help someone else see again. The boy digested that for a moment, then said, “Gee, Dad, I never knew you did such important things!” The next day, the man called the coordinator back. “You can call me anytime you need to,” he said.
It’s stories like this that help us realize the true impact giving back has. It’s about being a part of something far greater than yourself. Just like the dad, sometimes we view volunteering as an inconvenience to ourselves. We fail to see the bigger picture. Whenever you give back don’t forget about what you are REALLY doing. You are giving up something so small to you, that can change the entire world of someone else: Delivering food to someone who has nothing in the cupboards, helping build a house for someone who has nowhere to live, spending the afternoon with someone who has a disability and making them laugh which might be something they look forward to for the entire week. The difference we make in people’s lives goes far beyond the little time and energy we give.
Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn’t you want someone to be there for you? Most of the time giving back not only changes the life of the person being helped, but also the life of the person doing the giving. When you see someone who has nothing, who is much worse off than you but so thankful for life, it really opens your eyes to how fortunate you really are. So, if you are ever moved to give back, don’t view it as an inconvenience, but the opportunity to impact the life of someone in need. You never know, it may just impact you in the process.