On the XO Laptop

On Volunteerism: Cast thy bread upon the waters for thou shalt find it after many days

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I started a new project yesterday to honor the memory of Pvt. Isaac T. Cortez. A member of the U.S. Army Tenth Mountain Division, he was killed in Iraq last week. See Fallen Soldier: Pvt. Isaac T Cortez: From the Bronx to Iraq to a Return Home, Too Soon.

I knew what would happen when I published the post, and am writing to confirm that, sad to say, my expectations were met.

I did a Google search last night on “Pvt Issac T Cortez” late last night and found that my single post was already #8 in the list returned by Google. I just checked again a few minutes ago and saw that it is now #6.

This is what I expected. In less than a day I have become one of most cited sites about Pvt. Cortez. None of the matches with a higher rank was written by an individual.

I wish I were #200 or so in this list, though I expect my rank will rise even more as I write about him, for those with higher rank are basically just announcements of his death. Those sites will soon move on to other soldiers, so those soldiers can receive the recognition that is their due. This is course means that Pvt. Cortez is only going to get a small amount of recognition, even though he is due much more. Indeed, he is due as much recognition as this nation can muster, but we’ve probably already mustered most of what he will get.

This, by the way, demonstrates an important point about being a volunteer. You do it because you feel you should do it, or want to see what happens if you try to do it. However, you need to expect that little if any recognition will come your way, and for the most part you will probably be doing your work alone.

Doing this work alone can be hard, and thus lead to reducing, and perhaps even ending, your volunteer efforts.

The most important way to ensure that your volunteer work will continue is to be very selective in choosing the cause you wish to advance or support, and your work may even lead to your joining other causes, as has happened to me.

The rewards however, can be great, and many will come in ways you didn’t expect.

All this has been known for some time, though each volunteer has to sort it out for themselves.

If you are considering doing volunteer work, or seek encouragement to continue the work you are already doing, I direct your attention to Ecclesiastes 12:1 (King James Version):

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.


Written by daveshields

December 6, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Posted in xo-laptop

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