Do you ever go to events organized by someone who is not being paid but out of the kindness of their heart spent the time to organize this for themselves and others? Have you ever found yourself thinking in your mind that you could have organized the event better? Awesome! Next time you need to step up to the plate and be the leader or at the very least, assist in the organization of the activity. It is easy to criticize other people when you sit back and get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. It is easier when people take turns organizing/ hosting things so that it is not always the same person or persons doing everything (and paying for everything).
This blog post is to simply remind you to be nice to people who are volunteering their time.
This topic stirs a lot of emotions for me because of an event that happened years ago. William was probably six years old.
I was a single mom of two kids and teaching full time. I didn’t have a lot of free time because I was working on my Master’s Degree at night and also bringing my two kids to their various after school activities. William was in soccer and Paige was in gymnastics. William wanted to join the Boy Scouts. I found out where the sign up meeting was and attended. You know how it goes, the first meeting they try to talk parents into being a leader.
I knew FOR SURE that I could not be a leader. All of my friends will tell you that I am not the type of person who never volunteers and lets other people do all the work. However, at this point in my life, I just could not add another thing on my plate. One of the dads pressured me for several minutes.
Him: I will sign up to be the leader but will you be my co-leader?
Me: My life is very crazy right now. I really cannot take on another thing. I will help when I can.
Him: Please…I promise that I will do most of it. I just need a little assistance.
Me: I just really don’t think….
Me: Ok…but I am telling you now that I can’t be the leader.
Can you guess what happened next?
It did not end up being as presented at the meeting AT ALL. I found myself having to come up with activities and organize different things for the troop. I really thought that the way things were presented to me would happen but that was not the case.
Fast forward to one night when I got a phone call from a kid’s mom in the troop. She spent about ten minutes going off on me on how unorganized our troop was. She could not believe what a poor job the leader and I were doing. I was shocked. This is exactly why I didn’t want to sign up for anything. After the initial shock wore off of this mother yelling at me, I finally said “Why don’t you be the co-leader or even leader?” I am a single mom with two kids that teaches all day and works on my Master’s Degree at night. She immediately said that she could not want to be the leader or co-leader. (Of course she couldn’t. She would have to give up some of her precious free time). I was furious. She was MARRIED and a stay at home mom. Her life was a lot EASIER than my life. The last thing I needed was the woman chewing me out for not doing a good enough job as a volunteer for her son’s Boy Scout Pac that she didn’t want to volunteer for.
When I drop off my kid’s at church for religious education, I am very thankful for the wonderful people who volunteer their time for my children.
When I go to an event in my neighborhood, I am very thankful for all of the men and women in the neighborhood who volunteer their time to put on different activities. Our neighborhood employs a Social Director but she cannot possibly do everything. There are just not enough hours in the day. The neighborhood depends on resident volunteers to step up and organize different activities. Some of these activities include mommy and me play dates, men poker nights, ladies nights out.
I am thankful for the my children’s coaches that volunteer their time to coach my kid’s sports.
I am thankful for my friends and family who help me out.
In conclusion, please think twice before you start to criticize that volunteer. If you think you can do it better, why not offer to help? Don’t be the person that never steps up and expects everyone else to do all the work. Be positive. Don’t be that negative person that has to complain about everything. No one will want to be around you.
As far as that kid’s mom who chewed me out, she moved her son to another troop.
My question for you is this: Will you now think twice about criticizing the volunteer?