National Volunteer Week: Why We Care

Uncategorized / Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


“You lie down. You sing. You dance. You give me chocolate cake. Now sleep!”

I watch as my mother subjects herself to the every whim of the four-year-old in front of her. The tiny waif girl stands with a hand on each miniscule hip, pretending to scowl authoritatively at my lovely mother, who meanwhile is grinning ear-to-ear at this tiny dictator.

It’s especially funny for me now as an adult to watch mom play with kids, having an audience-seat glimpse into my own childhood. I’ve watched her countless times play the “Whatever You Say” game with children. She lets them turn her into a “slave” and boss her around mercilessly. They love it.

I once asked her why. Why do kids love it so much?

She said the key to understanding children is acknowledging that they feel irrevocably small or helpless. It’s quite often a constant emotion. So, giving them any grain of power will bring untold delight. It communicates to them that what they do matters.

I remember somewhere around my 10th birthday realizing that my parents were humans and that I had the direct power to make their days better or worse. I was dumbfounded. I was so small, so unimportant, how could I affect people?

It’s a realization I still struggle with.

I often feel like what I’m doing can’t make a real difference. But it does. My actions may not influence the whole world, but I have the power to affect someone, maybe even a few someones.

My mom taught me that what I do matters: my choices, my actions, my voice. And that’s why I volunteer.

Why do you care? Celebrate National Volunteer Week by sharing with us your fondest community service memory at [email protected].

Written by Anna Spady.