David Reynolds: Feeling Good

Column by David Reynolds
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Why do we volunteer our time when they don’t pay us a dime? Because volunteer organizations pay us far more than ten cents. We join and contribute to feel good – to feel good about ourselves. That feeling is priceless.

Being forced to do anything takes the joy out of everything. Ask your kids. Still, seldom are we completely happy with the volunteer organizations to which we belong. There is always the person who enjoys running the place and those we never see eye to eye. Nonetheless, we have more in common with those in the meeting room than those wandering outside on the street.

We belong because of a feeling of mission. There is a common bond – a bond that gives us a sense of belonging. It feels good. Consider it a happy bond.

Consider religious organizations. A church is a feel good place, not because it may be an attractive building with a steeple on its roof. It is because it is a place we can serve both ourselves and others. It works this way. We give. Someone else receives. Then we receive by giving. Not a bad loop to be in.

Of course, there are a couple of alternatives to volunteering your time, talent and treasure. One is to let the other fellow do it. Why do that? Why let someone else feel good at your expense? Then there is government. But let’s not go down that road this week.

All volunteer organizations have one need in common. If they are to grow new blood is needed. Particularly young blood. We don’t need the Census Bureau to tell us know that such blood still flows here in the valley. And those of us who live in college towns know that old and new blood flow well together.

In my previous life, long before I retired from government service, I belonged to an organization full of retirees. Those with white or little hair taught this member still with a full head of hair how best to look past one’s working career. Their insight was invaluable. So was their spirit.

This brings us to what organizations to join. Naturally it is those which make us feel the best. Some will admit anyone with a little time and money in their pockets. Others are more selective. First try the more selective ones. Those are the ones whose members have paid their dues before joining. However, if the first one doesn’t give you a good feeling in return for a little time, try another organization. Volunteer your time. Volunteer your most precious possession. If the match is right, you will have made a good bargain.


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