Something I never knew I would grow up to be is a volunteer. When my oldest son started a co-op preschool, I got my first taste of pulling together with other parents to create something special for our kids. The amount of work done is only part of it. There is twice as much time thinking, planning, and organizing. Always dreaming of a better way!
Volunteering your time and talents – for free – even when there is precious little time to give, is not always easy. But something pulls you in time and time again. And before long, you have spent a decade working for free. I’m a stay at home mom. I have NOT worked in 16 years. To the employer, I may look like I’ve given up on the work force …to wipes noses. But I always wanted to work! I still want to work! But I can tell you with complete certainty, I’ve gained more work experience, in more diverse situations, with more diverse people, than I ever would of siting at a job doing the same thing, all these years. I’ve grown. I’m better than I’ve ever been.
Volunteering parents have all the skills and more that an employer would not only value, but really come to depend on. It’s like people showing up for work on your days off. We want to work because we value a society that works together in harmony, for the sake of the people. Not the pocketbook. It’s rarely even a choice though. I think people that volunteer are just idealists. We can’t help ourselves. We DO get tired. We DO get burnt out. We threaten to stop many many times…but we don’t. We see a new possibility, or a real need, around every corner. And when there is more than one that gather, you can change the world! At least, I believe this. But I never knew this as a young person. I was never a joiner in school. I was shy and doubted my abilities. The change came when the focus left me, and became about my children, and the world they will inherit.
One day, I hope all my years of volunteering skills will lead me to a job for some financial security for my future. I feel that life leads you to opportunities, so I will be ready if that day comes. But even if it doesn’t, I won’t feel I wasted a single day not working. I’m serving my purpose in the way it is needed right now. And the many areas of my life that I’m inclined to volunteer in are slowly merging into one. Turning me into a more focused person. A confident person. A real grown up.
So if this is my last post for the Pot-Luck, I hope you will still hear from me, and see me in the community, because I’m just getting started.
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