Summer is an opportunity for many students to get a job, earn some money (hopefully save some of it) and bit by bit start getting a financial independence. Yet during this time of the year many young people (not just students) take the opportunity to do voluntary work. This will not increase their bank account, most probably it will diminish it, and yet it enriches them.
Hundreds if not thousands dedicate their summers to do work for others; whether it is in their own villages and towns, during festas or youth groups, or whether abroad, many spend weeks or months helping others in a rainbow of causes. But is it useful at all? Shouldn’t they relax a bit instead, sip a pina colada by the beach and enjoy the so much envied Maltese summer? Instead of livin la vida loca many decide to dedicate their time for others.
Relaxing and having the necessary time for oneself is not to be regarded as laziness. On the contrary many a times the problem with many of us is that we want to cram as many things as possible in our days and weeks. This is leading many to exasperation and to a stressful life; stuck between the ‘need’ to do more and at the same time hating Mondays. Just have a look at all those Sunday evening Facebook statues wishing Mondays don’t arrive.
Maybe we give too much value to the results of our work than to what we do; or may be we see the week split in two: 5 days working and 2 days fun; hoping that the weekend will make us feel better and regenerated for the following week, yet somehow it does not. May be we are focusing too much on having fun for fun’s sake?
Picking up from where I left above about voluntary work, it seems that these young people upon returning from their hard voluntary work feel satisfied about what they did and wish to do it on and on. Why? The answer in my opinion is that this hard work fills their hearts. It is not that they spend their days enjoying the views and the beaches, on the contrary voluntary work is hard physical work, a rigorous routine and a lot of sacrifices all week long. This cannot be considered as having fun, but it surely makes them happy.
To quote someone who dedicated all her life to voluntary work: “It is not what you do but how much love you put in the doing that matters” – Mother Teresa. Many (believers and non) are inspired by her strength and love for others. Her work was characterised by acts of kindness and self-giving, her work was genuine love for others, which goes beyond the borders of religions.
May be today we need more of this in everyday life and not just during voluntary work; it is something we seem to lack in our individualistic society – those young people are a great example to society at large!