The Idea of Service

I’d like to address these comments to all the children out there —  especially the homeschoolers, who have more manageable time available to them. The man who will take the oath of office as our 44th President within just a few hours of my posting this is committed to the idea of service.  The dictionary calls service, quite simply, an act of helpful activity.

I, and millions of other Americans, did many acts of service to help Barack Obama win the presidential election. I did those acts of helpful activity because I believed that, once elected, he would encourage all of us to do more acts of helpful activity — for the poor, for the sick, and for all people.

I’ve heard of many children performing service projects as part of their school curriculum or as part of a sacramental program. I’ve heard of these projects in terms of hours: someone needs to complete so many hours of service in order to be considered “done.” In the real world, service is never done. I and the people who worked with me on the Obama campaign didn’t count the hours we spent working. It wasn’t about hours. It wasn’t about personally being done. It was about doing the service.

If you take on a real-life, untimed service project in your community — however great or small — you will gain much more than I could ever list here.  Helpful acts enrich the helper, the person helped, and the world. As Margaret Mead wrote:

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

When I first heard soon-to-be-President Barack Obama say, “We are the change we’ve been waiting for.” I thought it was just a line. When I joined others in service, I realized that it was a great truth. I hope that you will look out into the world around you and be the change. Act for change. It’s a way of life that’s finally in fashion.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Sandra Foyt said,

    Modeling and teaching our children to make service a part of their lives is truly one of the great joys of being a parent. Great post!

  2. 2

    Kim Anderson said,

    In the immortal works of Wal-Mart, “Good works!” Public service is becoming a pre-requisite for college scholarships, too. It’s so terribly important to establish a habit of service in our children.


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