Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TOW Barter System

I happened to attend CMP after a long time today. This is a program by my company where we bring kids from child care centres to our office and spend some time with them. Kind of teaching them something and learning from them... providing an environment of love and trust and hoping that they would share therir problems with "bhaiya' and "didi" here.

Somehow it didnt feel the same now. Kids are the same, volunteers are the same, yet something is amiss. We teach them all that we want to teach... yet it doesnt seem to meet the purpose. And it made me think, why we volunteer ? A lot of people volunteer because it makes them feel good... a satisfaction of working not for yourself. A general sense of giving back. I wonder if sometimes this becomes the primary motive. That we are actually not working for "them", but for "us"... or that the lines blur. We convince ourselves that we are doing good... that we have brought a change in someones life... and we feel better... may be less sinned. We design programs and projects based on what people want to do... and not on what needs to be done.

Does it happen that sometimes you think you are doing good, while you may not be actually doing anything...not making any contribution or worse..ruining things. Dealing with kids is difficult. You spend sometime with them, gain their trust and then abandon them... may be your priorities change and you forgot to check theirs. You leave just like you came, unannounced and swiftly. But, you have changed something in the process.

Are we somehow trying to barter our peace and self-worth... trading a few hours for it? That we judge the sucess of a mission based on how much we feel better instead of how much we have positively influenced someone else's life?


Sejal said...

I've always been against the feel-good volunteering.. Glad you got why one should volunteer (ideally) :-)

Anonymous said...

One should choose to do a good thing because he/she can (ofcourse, the definition of "can" is tricky here). Every other reason is a piece of crap!! Such reasons do drive some people to realize their "Social Responsibilities" but the sad fact is that many of such reasons come with an expiry date and the moment those cease to exist the Service part is out of "Social Service".

Social service, for me, is team work. Based on the time and effort you can put in you choose your "Project" and "Role". As you gain experience and find more time you switch projects/roles and enhance your capability/reach to help others.

(Some nice pseudo intellectual nonsense there...lol!!)

And please don't ask me if I do whatever good I can...because my answer would be "Hell...No!!"

Anonymous said...

Every good deed is selfish.. But that does not make it any less helpful :)

earthwire said...

Yes... agreed that there is some selfish motive..but when that becomes the main motive... you need to rethink...

if in order to get "feel good" you are harming others in long run, you should stop... if you gain trust and not accept the responsibility, you are not being helpful... and thats what I have noticed in a lot of cases!!!