10 Bad Reasons to Become a Volunteer or Why Selfishness Has No Place in Volunteering

prideMy intent is not blame people for bad intentions when they volunteer but to have people think about why they volunteer and change their perspective on what they are doing. While too many people are volunteering for the wrong reasons if we think about and reevaluate our reasons we can become better volunteers

Here are  10 bad reasons to become a volunteer

1. To show how good a person I am.
2. To practice my leadership skills
3. To add skills to my CV (resume)
4. Because the volunteers I have seen aren’t doing a good Job
5. Because it is my civic duty to volunteer
6. Because all my friends do
7. Because it makes me a better person
8. Because my faith says I have to
9. Because the court said I have to do community service
10. Because my Mom or Dad did.

While many of the bad reasons to volunteer above look like really good reasons to volunteer a good number of them will make you a bad volunteer.

Volunteering is all about commitment to service and as you can see many of the reasons above are totally unrelated to commitment.

Let’s look at each one individually.

1. To show how good a person I am.

This is a reason that we all use but don’t admit to. No one wants to be seen as an unconcerned person and volunteering, whether it be with a charity or with a church or faith group, is one way to show how concerned and how kind we are. The problem here is charity or service is best done to benefit the community and the reward should be how you feel after doing it. You don’t need anyone to tell you that you did something good. You should feel that inside, and that is your reward. This is true of many of the 10 ten reason above. If you are volunteering to benefit you, you are volunteering for the wrong reason. This does not mean you should stop but you should adjust your thinking and make your volunteering for others first. Try doing something for others and keep your name out of the outcome. Work for a soup kitchen but ask the organization not to publish your name as a volunteer and when they say thank-you say “No, thank you” because your reward should be the feeling you get from knowing you did something good.

If you can’t volunteer without wanting people to know about it you are being selfish. Sure if you get known for your work in the community that is fine and no crime, but if that is your reason you are doing it for the wrong reason. Selfishness has no place in volunteering. You should volunteer because you know it is right to do so not for any expectation of reward, even if the reward is recognition. More often than not when I get a citation or an award I feel I don’t deserve it. People tell me this is the wring response but sorry they are wrong this is exactly how you should feel. Why because there are always better people out there. There are always more things you can do and my reward should be knowing I did my best to do the right thing not the plaque on the wall or the pin or the certificate.  I did not know my Uncle Vern was a Cub scout leader until his name appeared in the Scouting life magazine obituaries.  I also did not know that he stayed on as a Cub leader when his kids were well into their 30s and 40s. That is the way to volunteer, to do it with advertising it to do it just because it is the right thing to do.

2. To practice my leadership skills

While there is nothing wrong with taking a leadership role in an organization and it is important that people that have natural leadership tendencies will put them to good use this should not be your reason to volunteer. Why? Because most volunteer groups work as a team. The best volunteer organizations are democratic in nature. The best attitude to come into volunteering is how can I contribute to the group. Again to come in assuming that you will take control as you are a natural leader is a mistake. Most volunteer organizations will recognise natural leadership and you very well might be promoted to a leadership role but if you don’t then to get upset is another selfish response. If you don’t feel your leadership abilities are being used then you have the right to leave, and if you think that you should be the one in charge you need to consider that you might again be volunteering for selfish reasons and as I mentioned selfishness has no place in volunteering.

3. To add skills to my CV (resume)

I won’t spend a lot of time on this because again it is related to what I have just said. Volunteering does ad skills to your CV and yes I list some of my volunteering on my CV. However this is a benefit of volunteering and definitely should never be the reason you volunteer. I had one cub scout that never sewed his badges on his sash but he had them all. I also had another that kept trying to get me to give him new badges that he hadn’t quite earned. The one I respected was the one that didn’t find the badges themselves important but put out the effort to earn them.

4.Because the volunteers I have seen aren’t doing a good Job

This actually can be a good reason to volunteer BUT it depends on the person using it. Arrogance is a deadly sin in volunteering. Remember that for every volunteer you criticise there will be 10 people like you ready to criticise your volunteer work. That said each and every person that volunteers even for bad reasons like we have been talking about here is better than those that won’t volunteer for selfish reasons. In volunteering you must respect the volunteers you work with or those that came before if you don’t then you need to remember there will be people just like you looking back at the “Bad Job” you did. Respect is crucial in volunteering.

5. Because it is my civic duty to volunteer

This one I disagree with fully there should be no civic duty to volunteer. Why because if your heart isn’t in it if you are doing it because you are told you must you might as well be a machine programmed to do good. Volunteering must be done because you WANT to do it not because you feel you must do it. I know I have to tend my yard to mow the lawn pull the weeds this will keep the neighbours from complaining. That said If I want my neighbourhood to look good I will go one step farther I will pull the weeds mow the lawn plant flowers paint the fence and sweep the walk. Duty only takes you so far it is a desire to make things better that makes you exceed your capabilities.

6. Because all my friends do

The simple answer to this one is that riding on the good intentions of your friends is just wrong. While it is nice to socialise as a volunteer this is a benefit of volunteering not a reason to volunteer. Sure go ahead but also keep in mind that in order to be a good volunteer you need to go beyond just doing it because your friends are. I have seen to many people quit a group once their friends leave and to me this just shows that you really did not care about the organization you were volunteering for.

7. Because it makes me a better person

This is true but again it is a reward not a reason. I keep saying this but volunteering should be to benefit others not our selves.

8. Because my faith says I have to

Most faiths have some edict that compels the faithful to do acts of kindness. The problem is the rule should not be the reason. In the Christian faith one of the highest callings is to act selflessly like Christ. To give everything with out expectation of reward. In this faith the reason to volunteer or to give to the poor and help others is because you are to become like Christ to be selfless. The reason you should do as your faith tells you is because you believe in it because you know that helping others is right, not simply because you are told to.

9. Because the court said I have to do community service

First of all people call this volunteering I don’t , and people in this situation are actually not volunteers and can drag down a volunteer group. This is something I have always disagreed with while I think some people benefit from being forced to do community service in general it is a waste of time. The Lions Club I volunteered for had one good and on bad experience with community service kids. One kid that had to do community service was just a bad kid he was not sorry for what he did he did the bare minimum of work and in the end came back one night and robbed the place. The other kid we had felt sorry for what he did (stole his moms car) he did a good job and I hired him for other jobs. The thing is community service does not make a bad kid a good kid it just stops good kids from getting worse. Most times by the time kids or adults get to the point of being given community service, to a large degree they are beyond the point were it will actually help them.

10. Because my Mom or Dad did.

This one sounds good but if you are doing volunteer work because you believe in the values of community service that your parents did then fine, but if is to please them then you are missing what they tried to teach you.


The Fiends of Science (Intentional Typo)

I know I have been beating climate change denial to death recently. Why because it is important. Our children will inherit the dessert planet of Dune if we don’t do something and there are these deluded people out there that think everything is fine the world will always be as it is. People really need to get their collective heads out of the sand or other parts of their anatomy.
So the Climate change deniers are all out in full force trying to get us to believe that this is all some big conspiracy by government to steal tax dollars out of our pockets. Hmmm they are going to do that anyway there are far better ways to do it than making up such a convoluted story. We all know it is hard to believe that we have created a huge ecological mess but it is true no matter how much we deny it.
The So Called Big Conspiracy
I know this is old news but a Joint science academies statement was signed by Academia Brasiliera de Ciências Brazil ,the Royal Society of Canada, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Academié des Sciences, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher, Indian National Science Academy, Accademia dei Lincei, Science Council of Japan ,Russian Academy of Sciences, Royal Society (UK),and the National Academy of Sciences(United States of America).
It States: “there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities. This warming has already led to changes in the Earth’s climate.”
That is most of the big science bodies around the globe. If this is a conspiracy then it is big.

The Small Conspiracy
Let me show you a smaller conspiracy. Back in 2002 a group of folks claiming to be unbiased scientists formed an association known as the Friends of Science (http://www.friendsofscience.org/). These guys as you can see by their amateurish website are the lunatic fringe of deniers. They dispute all claims that Global warming is happening and even say odd things like “Carbon dioxide is a wonderful by-product of fossil fuel use.” They manipulate data and use high-school like images to prove their point. When you try to find out who they are there is little more than a reference to their scientific advisory board bios and a bunch of glowing statements on how great they are all THREE of them.

Here are some facts left out of the bios.
Dr. Madhav Khandekar, Meteorologist retired, formerly with Environment Canada the only Meteorologist on the board received $1000 a month from Exxon to write articles against Global Warming http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=1115.
Dr. Chris de Freitas Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Auckland. Formerly one of the editors of a journal called “Climate Research,” de Freitas was involved in a controversy surrounding a research article co-authored by Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon. The article reviewed previous scientific papers and came to the conclusion that climate hasn’t changed in the last 2000 years. But 13 of the authors of the papers Baliunas and Soon cited refuted her interpretation of their work, and several editors of Climate Research resigned in protest at a flawed peer review process which allowed the publication.
Dr. Tim Patterson, Professor of Geology and Paleoclimatology, Carleton University is likely the least offensive of this bunch and is guilty mostly by association. R. Timothy Patterson is a past chairman of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). The mission of the ICSC is to “move the debate away from implementation of costly and ineffectual ‘climate control’ measures.” The organization, is directed by the prominent climate change skeptic and ex- energy industry PR man Tom Harris,

Show me the Political Oil Money
Finally this bunch while claiming to take no money from the Oil industry have created a devious funding arrangement to funnel money from oil to fund their operations. University of Calgary political scientist Barry Cooper a friend of Tim Ball one of the Friends of Science’s key speakers set up a fund at the university called the Science Education Fund. Donations to this fund were made through the Calgary Foundation, which protects donors’ identities. The Science Education Fund the Friends of Science, and paid Tim Ball’s travel expenses. So no one knows where the money comes from but you can bet if this is all coming out of Calgary the Oil patch is more than a little involved.
So who am I to believe the Joint Science Academies or the Friends of Science?
Well all funding issues aside I think the quote “Carbon dioxide is a wonderful by-product of fossil fuel use” kind of made up my mind to begin with.
If you love this planet don’t just sit back and enjoy the rising heat. When you hear climate change deniers speak up and say BULL CRAP !

Samaritan Medicare vs Not My Brother’s Keeper

My Wife and I were across the border in New york last weekend (Lake Placid). The palce is absolutely Beautiful, but would I live there HELL NO.

Because they don’t have Medicare or social assistance you can rely on.  The issue is one that the current administration is trying to fix. The problem is there are a large number of rightwing Bible quoting Republicans that think that socialist ideas like Medicare will go against thier values the values they got from the Bible.

You know what that is?


Plain and simple nonsense.  Here is what Jesus said about Medicare and socialism.

Luke 10: 30-37

 30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”   Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Socialism means society is responsible for those that can’t help themselves. If you don’t see that in the parable,  you’re blind.  What the Samaritan did was akin to Medicare, and no amount of rationalizing that away will work.

We tend to think that we are not our Brothers Keeper, it is his own obligation to pay for his medical care and his employment insurance.

But who was the first to feel Gods wrath?  Cain and his first plea was “am I my brothers keeper.” (Genesis4:10)

The Answer is both socially and Biblically YES.

Rednecks, Violence, Pacifism, Rationalism and Christianity

Or what I learned from a JERK in a truck

The problem with life lessons is being able to see the lesson in the situation.One day I was turning right out of a parking area and there was a truck to my left so I could not see on coming traffic. The jerk behind me thought that my caution was slowness so he kept pounding on his horn. I was thinking sorry jerk but I don’t risk my life for rednecks in pick-ups (especially those with attitudes). So I flung him the bird (gave him the finger) and drove away when it was safe to do so. Yes I tend to react with emotion first, this is not wise when you consider I am a pacifist. This Jack Ass then follows me for three blocks and pulls in behind me when I go to stop. He says “if you give some one the finger you should be ready to back it up, with action” I tell him my side of the story that I am not about to risk my ass for his redneck carcass (not in those words) especially not violent rednecks like him. I also tell him that I am about as likely to fight him over this trivial spat as I am to have monkeys fly out of my butt. Personally I wish he would take more dumb risks as it would seem only a tough lesson would shake him into realization that turning into traffic with out seeing it would be STUPID. The big problem is that this jerk was threatening to beat the crap out of me with his 7 year old son in the cab of his truck. Oh Yeah Teach them early that violence works, so they can grow up to be thugs and wife abusers. (If violence was the by-product of insults then parliament would need referees and ropes around it.) I was ignoring his threats for two reasons, one I try not to fight with some one that has biceps bigger than my thighs, and two if he attempted to follow me and strike me (there were spectators) I could have his ass thrown in Jail and that would feel soooo good. However the service guy at the car dealer came running out to tell this redneck that he had just called the police and the jerk left without incident. Damn I was looking forward to charging him with assault. I grew up in a pacifist household my mother was very much against fighting, guns and violence of any sort, so I learned to walk away or take a beating and not cry out when bullied. There is very little pleasure in beating on some one if they don’t fight back, and if they don’t cry or cower. But not fighting back works, because even a bully does not want to look like a bully. You don’t look cool if the guy you’re bullying just stands there. As for the guy that is being attacked, the best thing to keep in mind is while pain is transient and unavoidable, but integrity is worth the pain. The hardest part is to take the pain without crying out. I can’t say that I never fight back, to do so is a natural animal reaction (we are animals). To not fight however is what raises us above the level of animals. We have a fight or flight urge it is built into us genetically. To raise above our animal nature it what distinguishes us from animals. There is no natural instinct that tells us to stand up and take abuse. Where do we learn such contrary behaviour? Well there are a number of possibilities, but two are the most evident. rationalism allows us to make decisions contrary to animal instinct it is logical to assume that if we don’t respond to violence with violence there will be less violence, and religion often teaches us that we are above animal behaviour.

From a Christian perspective we follow the biblical edict (or we should) that says;

Romans 12:19-21
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Now contrary to the direct image of God as a smiter of sinners, I take this verse to mean that those that commit evil will not be rewarded but rather they will overcome by a good society. They over time as man evolves socially will cease to be. In other words evil will be overcome by good in Gods time.

How to Spoil a Sunny Day

If the world is seen as a day, beginning with a sunny blue summer sky with warm winds and cool ocean waves beating the shore, what happens when we play with the climate politically.

First we talk of alliances with other nations to prevent our neighbours from spoiling our sunny day. This causes a small but pretty cloud on the horizon but keeps the storms on the other side of the border at bay.  As the clouds build on the border from our own hot air we build our own little storm and the neighbouring storms move closer to join the party.  Gradually the neighbour sends bolts of political lightning to test that alliance, and we build missiles batteries which the neighbour combats with more clouds of rhetoric and tanks on their side.  The tanks belching out fumes feed the clouds and the borders become stormy industry feels the effect of trade restrictions and small clouds form over the factories.  Also some industry benefits from the tensions and clouds form as factories belch  smoke.  Now we have the gloom of a cold war, but it is just clouds no storms.  Our less than polite neighbour moves into other nations to get a strong foothold creating massive storms in those nations but the storms aren’t moving our way.   We counter with aid to the insurgents and the storms slowly creep over the border.  Finally we feel truly threatened and move in to take back our nation’s friend and the storms that have been hovering on the border move over us the cold winds of storms become the heat of thunder lightning and torrents of rain and floods.

Who is to blame?

What should we do to prevent the building storm?


Good Bye Bob

I used to live in a small community in Southern Ontario called Angus. For the most part it is a bedroom community for Canadian Forces Base Borden. Many people come and go but there are some diehards that stay and work at making Angus more of a community than a place to camp out while you are stationed at CFB Borden.

Angus has bred many unique characters one of which was Bob Houghton, Bob was a Scout leader for many years and I was lucky enough to work with him as the Liaison officer from the Angus Lions Club to the Angus Scouts. Bob like many Scout leaders became an unofficial foster parent for many youth. He and his wife took in many teens over the years when they had nowhere else to turn. Like many Scouters the Houghton’s took on the role with both physical and mental stamina. As a Scouter you are a more than a role model you are a part of the lives of the youth you work with, they often become part of your extended family, and in Bob’s case immediate family.

Unfortunately being away from Angus for about 10 years I only get the occasional news from back home, and the news of Bob’s death came to me rather late.

ROBERT ALLAN HOUGHTON (December 27, 2007)
Robert Houghton of Angus, passed away peacefully at Royal Victoria Hospital, Barrie on Wednesday December 26, 2007 in his 62nd year.
Beloved Husband of Madeline..
Loving Father of Allan(Jennifer)and Suzanne(Eric)all of Angus.
As well as many others whom he opened his door to over the years.
Cherished Grandfather of Cailey, Cassidy, Julia, Jakob, Graysen, Hunter and Riley.
Dear Brother of Edith Barriault(Joseph), Barbara Willis(Don) and Joan Curtis(Gary).
Predeceased by his Parents Helen and Allan Houghton, and one brother William.
Bob will be sadly missed by his many relatives and friends.

Who is Biassed? And Why is This News?

Here’s your daily laugh 580 CFRA, News talk radio is the only news source that is posting online on the issue of The questioning of justice David Corbett’s so called bias by Don Hutchinson . Hutchinson was quoted by CFRA as saying to a Gay pride group that ” most gay rights battles, in his view, had been ‘won’.”
CFRA quotes Hutchinson as saying “Mr. Justice Corbett, like any Superior Court justice, is free to comment on issues of public policy, however, it would fall to him should a case dealing with this type of subject matter come before his court to recuse himself from hearing the case as he’s demonstrated that he’s no longer impartial on this issue.”
CFRA likes to think of itself as a non-biassed source but, given that it is using Hutchinson as a source who is general legal counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and CFRA employs Lowell Green as a host for one of it’s shows, just how non-biassed are they?

That said, Corbett was known to have a record of supporting equality rights when he was appointed, he was supporting equality not pro-gay sentiments and besides, What he was saying wasn’t a biassed or supportive point but a statement of fact, Gay rights have become intrenched in our society the battles have been won.