The true joy in life – being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
~ George Bernard Shaw
You could be excused for thinking that Shaw wrote these lines specifically for today’s youth. However, as he died in 1950, George Bernard Shaw was apparently referring to people who are now grandparents or great grandparents.
Yet, that generation would be better known for the incredible growth of service clubs that gave back and continue to give back to their communities – not as ‘whiners’. I expect that like many previous generations, today’s young people will also find their way of giving back – perhaps taking their grandparents’ clubs and reshaping them to meet the needs of today.
Service clubs such as Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Optimists and many others grew in popularity and power through the 1900s supported by people who wanted a venue in which to express their altruistic values while building strong business networks and personal friendships. Over the years, club members found ways to respond to the needs of their communities. As an example, Kiwanis, an international organization that is comprised of local community clubs in most countries around the world describes itself on their website as:
Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis International club, no matter where in the world it’s located. Kiwanis members stage nearly 150,000 service projects, devote more than 18 million hours of service and raise nearly US $100 million every year for communities, families and projects.
Powerful stuff. Unfortunately, many service clubs face declining memberships and the average age is well north of 50. Virtually all service clubs are seeking new members to carry the torch. As governments cut services and individuals face tough economic realities, service clubs are needed as much today as ever before.
You could join a service club in order to prospect for new business contacts. But if that is your primary motivation, don’t bother. You won’t be successful. If you join because you are grateful for your current lifestyle, have a desire to give back to your community, would appreciate the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and feel good about yourself, then commit to a service club. Find one that supports projects or causes that you can get behind. Once you’ve given, you’ll find that you also receive.