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Truly serving others needs right attitude to be real, meaningful

March 7, 1997

Alissa Mitchell

leisure editor

Service is a much broader term than most realize. It happens everyday, by most people and has been in existence for many years. Why, then, do many seem to think it has a negative tone?

For instance, many organizations on this campus hold service projects, whether they are car washes, walk-a-thons, antique sales or painting houses for a day. Often, though, the reaction to these service projects is 'I don't want to,' 'I'm not going,' or 'Do we have to?'

Think about it like this, we spend time almost everyday hanging out with our friends at the marina or at our apartments, but we don't have the time to spend hanging out with the same friends and helping someone else at the same time.

That doesn't make much sense. It is an opportunity for us to bond with friends and those in need, serve those in need and make others feel better about themselves, and we constantly complain about doing it. However, there has been a time in every person's life when he or she depended on the generosity of another for survival. Without that help, where would each of us be? Just something to think about.

On the other hand, most don't realize when one complains about serving, he is complaining about something each of us does most everyday. Does a day go by when one doesn't lend a hand, an ear or a few words of advice to a friend? Not likely. In fact, most people do each of these things, in one way or another, several times each day. So, don't we all feel better about ourselves now? Most likely the answer is yes.

That, however, is another service problem. Many don't serve willingly to help others but instead to feel better about themselves. That is great, but does it really serve, no pun intended, the true purpose of helping others? Probably not. I am not saying that feeling good about oneself after serving others is bad, but it should be an added bonus to one's actions, not the motive.

Here is the whole point to service. Benefiting the better good of others. Helping others through a rough time. Making others smile. Providing a better day to day life for those who don't have such a great one. I shouldn't serve so I can feel good about myself or tell others that I did something for someone else. What good does that do except to pat myself on the back? None.

So, for all those who don't have a clue what service is really about, helping others and not ourselves, find out. Call Mission Waco, a nursing home, or a hospital and volunteer. Also, if you are involved in some type of organization on campus, ask your service chair for options. You can help others feel good about themselves, and maybe even learn a little something at the same time. Grab a few friends in the process and remember, you can have fun and bond while helping others lead a much happier life.

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