Thursday, November 13, 2008
It seems ironic to me that people can propose forced "voluntary service" hours. It seems to be an oxymoron at best. It may be well intended for didactic purposes, but in the long run I think it has a contrary effect.
Many of our Catholic schools, for instance, now have "required service hours" in order to graduate. In other words, you must get your "ticket punched" for doing so many hours at a nursing home, helping sister clap the erasers together, doling out soup in a soup kitchen. Now all these things may well be noble endeavours, but what *precisely* is learned by making someone do something that is supposed to come from the goodness of one's heart?
In other words, instead of learning by example from mom, dad, the community at large, doing something good is now done as a quid pro quo. I.E. "You do something good for X, and I'll let you:
Have a better parking spot,
Get your name in lights on the company bulletin board after the next subbotnik."
Yes, that's right - because no matter how well intended, it's a subbotnik. Just like Dear Uncle Joe made "the workers" give one free day to the state.
It makes a mockery of REALLY doing something that comes from the heart. You do good for the sake of its own intrinsic worth. Not because you'll get something tangible.
Ditto this idea of "Getting a monetary reward for doing the right thing." It used to be in school we were taught (in the parochial school anyway) that if you saw a wallet, you returned the wallet, you didn't expect a monetary reward...you did it because IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Virtue for its own sake. You didn't return the lost dog for the "reward" - you returned it because you knew how bad you feel if your pet was lost, and you wanted to do right by the other person. [I'm not talking about accepting what it might have cost you ... i.e. you were reimbursed for the dog food or whatever if you needed it. ] I'm talking about the $1000 bucks if you return my dog" stuff that people seem to expect merely for doing the right thing. And ditto kids who get paid "X" if they get good grades in school. The knowledge gained should be reward enough. You learn for the joy of learning.
Don't put it past evil minded people to use the collective guilt trip of not doing voluntary service as a way to push their own agendas either. Sure a parochial school may be thinking that a few hours in a soup kitchen is a good thing. But don't expect others not to co-opt this notion. If I'm not mistaken Maryland schools, public ones at that require "service hours." IIRC some of these "service hours" can be for things like Planned Parenthood. Comprende?
I also wonder where Nobama is taking HIS "dear leader" agenda with his wish for enforced youth mandatory service scheme.
What was it the Jesuits said? "Give me a child until he is seven, and I will show you the man." Don't give your children over to be indoctrinated by anyone. At best, [when a cause is good], they can still easily pick up the "quid pro quo" mentality and don't really do good works from the heart. At worst, their minds can be poisoned into a lockstep "cadre." And question whether even meritorius "required service hours" are teaching your teen something beyond a jaundiced view of REAL volunteerism.