We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
It’s that time of the year when you begin seeing the bell ringers out in full force. They are a dedicated group that stick to their duties. Last night it was mid 20s plus windy when I needed to run in a store. The man out front was trying to ring his bell away, but commented that he couldn’t get his bell going like he wanted to because of the cold…..but he stayed and kept at it.
There are several great things we can learn from bell ringers and other volunteers* to help us be better parents, friends, co-workers and members of the community.
To volunteer is to serve. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. What it teaches us underneath though is dedication. No one pays you to volunteer. If you wanted to not show up for an event or activity, you’d be well within your right. The vast majority of volunteers do show up though because they are dedicated to the cause.
I’m very consistent and dedicated to the things I volunteer and serve at. My mind almost treats it as a job so I stay on top of those areas. Other parts of my personal life? Not so much. Even though I do a ton of racing, my training has been spotty over the last year. Typically if there is something I flake out on, it will be that. I’m still trying to give more dedication to myself. You do only get one shot at being you after all. I also want my middle schooler to see that it’s important to stick with something you commit to.
A Cheerful Spirit
You will sometimes see bellringers singing, playing an instrument or doing some form of entertainment. What you don’t see very often is an angry ringer. (Although that may be amusing in another way!) There is true joy in volunteering and serving others. It’s one of the main reasons why videos online that hit this angle are so popular. That’s the “payment” that people get from volunteering their time. It makes us feel better about ourselves, gives us a bigger sense of purpose and makes us more optimistic.
A Sense of Community
We are more isolated today than we ever have been as a community and nation. People don’t connect like they used to with their neighbors and technology continues to push us away from meaningful physical interaction. Additionally, adult men are naturally prone to isolate themselves from others. Volunteering helps break that negative cycle. I’ve gotten to know so many different people that have turned out to be life long friends because of things we volunteered at in our communities where we have lived.
Only one of the last six cities that we have lived in did we not serve in some capacity. That is probably the main reason why I feel the least connected to that place. We didn’t get to know the community. It’s certainly something I wish I could go back and do different.
If you’d like to volunteer but are nervous, or not sure where to start, don’t worry. Think of it as an old friend that you’ve haven’t met yet. That initial hesitation could make way for something truly life changing. You can find many places to serve by doing a simple search online for your area.
Thank you to those that do volunteer in the community. You are impacting others for the better, being a fine role model for those close to you, and refining yourself in the process.
Make a better tomorrow.
*Some bell ringers in cities are paid if there aren’t enough volunteers