My Two Cents In A Two-For-One Post

Didn’t find time to post yesterday, but I’ll make up for it now:

1. Do I think students should be required to volunteer for community service?

Without a doubt, because it would help both the students and the community. The kids would meet new (and maybe different kinds of) people and focus on others for a while. That’s good for character, but helping others is also a great way to cope with one’s own stress.

However, this should only be a requirement if it’s in place of something else. Stressed-out students don’t need one more thing to fit into their schedules.

2. My favorite volunteer work to date?

That would be helping a woman study for her US citizenship exam back when I was in college. She had some serious stories, most of which I’m sure I didn’t hear. And she was so kind and such a good student that I still remember her now.


Information I’m not proud to volunteer

When I saw something about NaBloPoMo on WordPress last night, I knew I had to do it. This blog hasn’t had anything new since December, thanks to a job that’s been taking more out of me than it has a right to. It’s been a real challenge to want to spend any additional time at a computer, but lately I feel the need to write.

About volunteering: In the past I’ve done things like teach ballet classes (long ago), help people with ESL, and play games with orphans. I spent some time with those kids because people I knew were involved and invited me to go.

Volunteering has been on my mind this year, off and on, but I don’t currently do this anywhere. Mostly that’s due to laziness or lack of follow-through on the idea. Inertia is a big problem.

It’s been on my mind for a couple of reasons:

  • the article in The Atlantic about happiness vs. meaning in one’s life. I’ve been seeking the first sometimes at the expense of the second. If that doesn’t make sense to you, be sure to read the article.
  • the last couple of years I’ve been giving money to charity, but it seems like giving my time and energy would be even better than just sending a check and then mentally moving on to something else.

If I were more personally involved I would learn something, too. And if I were on the receiving end it would mean more to have someone actually show up and spend time with me.

Maybe reading other posts on this will motivate me and give me some ideas on what I could do to help, given my work schedule. Probably tutoring school kids is an area where I could make a difference.

Daily Prompt: That Stings!

Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?

I’m a day late on this prompt, but maybe that’s a good thing, because this morning in the WSJ I saw a short article on the Chinese dissident-artist Ai Weiwei. A couple of his quotes there are:

“During my detention, they kept asking me: Ai Weiwei, what is the reason you have become like this today? My answer is: First, I refuse to forget. My parents, my family, their whole generation and my generation all paid a great deal in the struggle for freedom of speech. Many people died just because of one sentence or even one word. Somebody has to take responsibility for that.”—Der Spiegel, Nov. 21, 2011

“Choices after waking up: To be true or to lie? To take action or be brainwashed? To be free or be jailed?”—Twitter, Sept. 4, 2009

I have it easy and don’t have to fight against something like the powerful Chinese Communist government. I don’t need to feel guilty about that, because I had no control over where I was born, but reading this article did sting. I compared it to my usual first thoughts in the morning: What’s in my email inbox? What is there for breakfast?

Daily Prompt: Immortalized in Stone

Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?

It would be a statue of a cocoon.

Monarch Butterfly Cocoon

Monarch Butterfly Cocoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last couple of years were the scariest of my life, fortunately not for health reasons. But in every other way, yes.

I had to get out of a situation that was untenable and go live in a place that turned out to be a cocoon (the apartment of my dreams). I realized that while I was there and knew I couldn’t stay indefinitely–wherever I went next. So I found the strength to leave the comfort when it was time.

Things are very good now, and it was only in the last few weeks that I realized spending time in that cocoon was not an act of cowardice. That’s where caterpillars have to go to turn into butterflies.

That sounds a little too “precious,” but it occurred to me that that’s what happened: I changed into something better while I was inside it, and now I look at the whole experience differently.

30 Day Challenge

I saw this on the Kahaha Wahine blog: and decided to try it.

The challenge for the first day is: what are five ways to win my heart?

These are the first five that came to mind–the most important to me.

  • Be considerate of others
  • Have empathy
  • Have a sense of humor and be willing to act silly sometimes
  • Be passionate about something
  • Be motivated to learn and develop new skills

Worst job interview

Question: What was my best or worst job interview?

One of several versions of the painting "...

“The Scream”. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As they say, now I can laugh about this. About a year ago I had an interview with this big company that I really thought I could do well at. Learn new things, move up, and all that. It was in a part of town that I knew, and where I knew the roads did confusing things like change names and turn into pretzels.

I left early to allow myself time to deal with that, and still got on the wrong road. Highway, actually. The kind you can’t just turn around on because there are no traffic lights and few exits.

As soon as I realized what I’d done I started yelling NO! NO! and it was a nightmare come to life. I still made it to the place on time–barely–but was a little rattled and didn’t take the time to compose my thoughts before going in. It didn’t go well, and I didn’t get the job.

The only good thing about this was that it showed me the worst case (driving) scenario could actually happen and life would still go on.

Things that could happen are scarier than things that do.

(got this from the Swift Expression blog. My thanks to Tilda Swift for ideas that make it easier to get started.