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Forced Volunteerism


Recently, our church made a plea for young, able bodied men to volunteer to do some digging and heavy lifting on the church property to prepare the ground for and plant new sod, shrubbery, and trees.

 Since the work was needing to be done during the work week, it turned out that the only men who had volunteered were the retired gentlemen, most of them ages 70+.

I thought this was a good opportunity for my 13 year old son to burn some excess energy, do some good, and be in the company of his elders while he was at it.

I woke him bright and early the next morning and informed him of his new opportunity. He wasn't quite as optimistic about it as I was, and I may or may not have had to force him out of the car once we got to the work site.

As I drove away, someone handed him a shovel, and I saw him look around slowly before beginning to dig. I wondered throughout the day how he was doing and hoped he was having a good attitude about his work. When he got home later in the day, he grinched about the heat and the hard work and stated strongly that he did NOT want to go back the next day.

But bright and early the next morning, I woke him again and off we went. His grumbling didn't have as much gusto behind it as it did the day before, and when I dropped him off, he hopped out and went straight to digging.

He was very tired when he came home, and my husband praised him for his efforts, and I had his favorite meal waiting. I silently wondered if I had done the right thing,  forcing  him to go.

I needn't have wondered, though. The next time we went to church, one old man after another came to my son and slapped him on the back and shook his hand heartily. They talked about what a good, strong worker he was and thanked him for his contribution.

He stood a little taller that day. The look of pride on his face as he talked and joked with the old men made me proud of my son.

Sometimes we don't feel like doing the right thing, the hard thing, but it feels good after we do it.

You don't  feel  your way into a better way of  acting. You  act  your way into a better way of  feeling.