Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How much community service do you do? What counts as community service, anyway? At a recent speech, Bush praised those who give of themselves for a larger cause. Whether or not he was speaking in support of the military, of volunteering in America, of something else, it makes me think.

Community service is a punishment for some. Mandatory for others. Something lovingly contributed back for the good of all by yet others. Which is better? It seems to me that the last is the only “real” service. If it's mandated, is it really service? Maybe that's my upbringing talking. I tend to resist anything that I'm told to do. That's my nature. Comes with being a control freak, and with being incredibly stubborn. Give me a minute or two and I'll come around if it's a reasonable thing. Give me an hour and I'll convince myself that it was all my own idea to start with. Just don't ever flat out tell me to do something and expect blind obedience.

This, incidentally, causes the most concern in the Boy from time to time. He's used to this behavior in me. It's one of the reasons he loves me. Yet whenever I immediately roll over and agree with him on any topic or directive he stops and looks sideways at me. Just making sure that I'm alright. I get a little thrill out of that pause- another way of control? A passive-aggressive approach? Probably. I should look into that sometime. When I have the time.

When is service no longer service? I'd say when it is given grudgingly. If you're going to give something, give it. Don't lay conditions on it, don't lay expectations on it. Just go and do it. The reward may be small or non existent, but you'll have made the corner of the world you live in just that much better.

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