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JEFF BROOMES: Be true to the notion of service


JEFF BROOMES: Be true to the notion of service

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TODAY, IN OUR final instalment of the Urgency of Honesty series, I will address the importance of service. Like parenting, relationships and professional conduct, voluntary service is important to the positive development of all nations.

There is no country in the world that can finance all of its needs, especially in areas involving the youth the elderly or the disabled. This presents fervent ground for service groups to evolve. Unfortunately too many people get involved simply for photo ops or for CV building. They do not accept that we make a living from what we get, but we make a life from what we give. 

Service is a serious engagement, the highest of which is service to country by way of war. Here we have old people talking and young people dying. In social society, service is not age specific but is about some people giving and others learning smiling (what a great expression on the face of the elderly or the handicapped). 

When we are not prepared to set a clear strategic focus for the service entity, we are not being true to its objectives. We are being dishonest.  When we are unwilling to discipline ourselves and work in the interest of the mission, implement the goals and live by the values, we are not being true to the notion of service and are being dishonest.

When we allow our personal comfort zone to predominate our work in the group and end up missing meetings, being late to meetings, not completing assignments or disrespecting others, we are doing a disservice and are being absolutely dishonest to the cause. 

When we believe that our position must always be supported and sulk or even withdraw or minimize our efforts when this does not happen, we are being dishonest to the mission, work and values. One must be in it for the principles and not for the title or the position. 

All service groups, by definition, require a serious degree of sacrifice.  And I do not only mean sacrifice in terms of time and money, but also sacrifice of personal biases. If you put yourself forward to give voluntary service, be sure of what commitment you are getting into.

One must understand the mission of the enterprise and know that it is mandatory to respect it to the point of avoiding the temptation to be morality police. We must be truly committed to the work even if the people that you pledge to help have a different religious or sexual orientation.

That is not always easy to do but, if you truly want to answer the call for urgency of honesty, you must swallow your views and move stridently on in living the mission and the strategic focus of the service you committed to giving.

In contemporary society, self inspection is more respected in the breach. We are, in many cases, egomaniacs when we review what we say, what we do and what we think. Judgments are usually made with our positions at the centre and spanning outward. 

This is never right and also gives a false picture of what really is!  We must open our hearts and intellects, remembering that we are only contributing members and not the focus. As we self-evaluate, let the mirror focus deep within us and know that, like my friend Mac Fingall says: “The mirror don’t lie!”

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]