Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Volunteer or Shaddup

Very often in my life, I hear complaints.  Complaints about life, complaints about a particular chapter of life, complaints about a particular character in said chapter of life, etc.  People are just venting, and all I have to do is listen, and occasionally interject murmurs of encouragement.  Sometimes I'm the one venting.  I see venting as the equivalent of a summer storm, as suddenly over as it began.  When the venting is done, equilibrium is re-established, and the world can continue turning. 

Then there are the complainers who just complain.  It's as if they've eaten nothing but sour grapes or sour lemons their entire lives. They cannot open their mouths without a negative statement bursting forth like overripe fruit.  When people try to help these sourpusses, they aren't thanked.  In this instance, the complainer doesn't want the problem to be fixed, they just want to complain about it, and they want everyone to know that they are complaining about it.   This is not a productive person.  They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but the squeaky wheel often also ends up getting whacked in the head with a mallet. 

There are a number of very positive people who are willing to volunteer their time.  Every elementary school has room mothers, and more recently Watch D.O.G.S(Dads of Great Students), roaming about, lending a hand here and there.   These fine people saw a need, or were told about a need.  Instead of constantly complaining about how crappy public education is, or how terrible the federal/state government is, or how it's all Obama's fault...these people stepped in and DID something.  They asked what they could do to help, and then...they did it.  These fine parents don't spend all of their waking hours at the school like the actual teacher do, but they do what they can, and that is what counts. If it weren't for volunteers, most schools would be sad places.

My husband has been the "commissioner" of the 3/4 year old soccer teams this spring.  There were almost 80 three and four year old children who wanted to play soccer, and my husband would have gladly placed all of them on teams...except not many parents wanted to volunteer to coach.  So some kids didn't get to play, and that is a darn shame.  Even at this level, a coach needs a team mom, and several willing "cat-herders" to keep the kids focused, but some parents won't even volunteer for that! My husband has since received a number of phone calls and emails complaining about particular coaches, and his response has been to ask the complainer if they are willing to take over coaching responsibilities.  Silence is usually the response. 

Every parent out there should be willing to volunteer for something at least once a year.  It doesn't have to be a sports team; the library needs volunteers, and so does the chess club.  You don't have to be an expert on anything, all that is required is a willingness to help.  Children should see positive adults helping others without expecting payment, aka volunteering.  Adults who volunteer are modeling that giving behavior to the children around them.  It's an awesome thing, to volunteer, and these people should be solemnly kissed on both cheeks and bear hugged. 

This is a message to all you whiny complainers out there: Stop just whining and DO something!  You'll be glad that you did, I promise. 


  1. Quite simply, it's easier to complain.

    That said, I'm an active volunteer, just not as often as I'd like. Work keeps getting in the way of my social life.

  2. I don't like being solemnly kissed on both cheeks, that's why I don't volunteer for more stuff.

  3. This has been an age old thing that my friends and I used to "vent" about when I children were younger. You get the SAME people volunteering all the time; it doesn't change! And the complainers who don't step up, drove me crazy. We are the lucky ones who get to spend fun times with our kids. They are the ones missing out.

    I will never forget the time a local minister (I live in a pretty small suburb and this church is right around the corner from me) gave a Sunday sermon and totally reamed and judged people who drove big SUVs. I was slightly bent out of shape because my big SUV was taking her daughter constantly to Girl Scout outing. She was too busy to help.

  4. i am sorta in my second generation of volunteering with my kids--love it

  5. Being a preacher's kid and now preacher's wife, I totally get this! My volunteer time is taken up with church projects, which I love. But what I don't love is when people complain about not having this or that class/project/activity in church... and when said people refuse to do anything besides sit in church. I understand that people are busy and have outside-of-church lives, but maybe they could recognize that I have an outside-of-church life, too? Namely 3, almost 4, kids to take care of? A house to try and keep presentable? My husband has a full time job and still manages to preach, teach, run the finance committee and trustee committee. And they want to add more to our plate? So, yes, recognize that there can be improvements made and things added but shut your mouth if you're not willing to help out even a little!

  6. Maybe I have been making a mistake by offerring the kids an allowance for household chores. maybe with all of the volunteering they have seen the hubsand I do, it would have more appeal for them to do something for just the sake and goodness of my sanity. It is close to a charity.


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!