Thursday, September 08, 2011

Community Dis-Service

Let me begin this rant by saying, I am obviously not a good person.

GoofBoy has been assigned a community service project and I view it primarily as a hassle for me.

As a student of politics (in the great sense of the word - affairs of the polis - being involved in the community) I am a great believe in volunteering and civil society. But walkin' the walk is another story.

Because here is the thing. His teacher says this is supposed to be self-directed, but GoofBoy is ten. He can't go anywhere without me. He has a very vague idea of what exists and goes on in this world. He'd like to maybe deliver toys to orphans on Tatooine or take care of abandoned house elves in Hogsmeade - but he has no clue how to even find animal shelters or nursing homes. Self-direction on this project is no direction.

So now it is another thing I have to do. I will need to identify a place and take him there. It will be on a Sunday. When I take him to birthday parties, I usually drop him off and head to a coffeeshop. But I can't drop him off at a nursing home/homeless shelter, nor can I hang around and just play Tetris on my phone.

I know how this must sound, I am complaining about doing good deeds. I like to think that I would do some volunteering, except that my schedule is sort of dominated by working and schlepping two kids around. I consider myself having done community service simply by not strangling anyone.

I know there are people with way more kids then me who find time to volunteer. Good for them, I'm not that good. I try (not that hard clearly) but I do try.

Am I glad that the school wants to inculcate the value of volunteering and helping others - of course. I won't mind our actual endeavor - I've spent plenty of time visiting nursing homes - but I simply cannot deny that my first reaction to the assignment was, "Great - something else to do."

And worse is coming, I think this year they do science fair.

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