9 months ago

Better Man

Brett and Kate McKay

Brett and Kate McKay somebody, I don’t always feel very happy. Often, I grumble about it. But every single time I’ve manned up and gone and done the service, I’ve felt happy and satisfied afterward. Every single time. Service just makes you feel good about yourself and about life. 2. Puts your problems in perspective. We often think that our problems are huge. And they feel huge because we have nothing to compare them to except our own life experiences. But when we serve those less fortunate than us, we come to see how good we have it. Our problems start to seem relatively small. And our gratitude for all the good things we have in life increases exponentially. 3. Breaks down prejudice. It’s easy to paint people we’ve never had any contact with broad strokes, to think we have them all figured out. Immigrants, poor people, criminals, and so on – we think we know their story. We often formulate our opinions on such people without ever having talked to a single one of them. But when we work oneon-one with people different than us, we come to really love them and know them, and our compassion and empathy grows. We don’t see them as stereotypes, but as flesh and blood people, people whose problems are often far more complicated than we could have previously imagined. 4. Helps you find yourself. A lot of people talk, and agonize over, “finding themselves.” They want to find their authentic selves, who they really are. To this end, many traipse through Europe or go to grad school. There’s nothing wrong with such pursuits, but there’s no better way to get to the core of who you are than serving others. It will peel back the layers of your artifice and reveal what you’re really made of and what you really value. I can’t explain in words why it has this effect, but it does. I think it’s like the saying, “The watched pot never boils.” The more time you spend thinking about who you are, the more elusive the answer gets. As soon as you turn your focus to others, your true self is revealed. 127

30 Days to a better man How to Find Service Opportunities One of the reasons many of us don’t serve more is not because we don’t have the desire, but simply because we don’t know how to get involved. We don’t know where to jump in. Here are some suggestions on finding a place to volunteer: 1. Volunteer with a Preexisting Organization There are lots of established organizations out there that are always looking for volunteers. All you have to do is sign up. You might want to check out these: • Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America • The Red Cross • Habitat for Humanity • Boys Scouts of America • Meals on Wheels 2. Check a Website There are several websites out there that simplify the process of finding a service opportunity. You simply enter your location to view a list of positions that organizations need filled by a volunteer. • Volunteer Match • Serve Net • 3. Call an Organization If you already know an area where you’d like to serve, than call up an organization and asks about volunteer opportunities. For example, if you’d like to work in education, call up a school. If you want to help the sick, call a hospital. Other possibilities include prisons, churches, retirement homes, and charitable organizations. Or you might try to 128