Community service without incentives makes experience more worthwhile
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By Tolu Salako
Editorial Page Editor
My small black knit gloves refuse to let the blood flow through my fingers since I refuse to buy new ones for the five days that Texas has remotely cold weather
I check my phone: 42 degrees. I wanted so desperately to go home.
It was the day before Thanksgiving and I remember how annoyed I was that I had to wake up at 6 a.m. during a school break.
“I’m not even getting any sort of credit for this. I want to go home,” I said to my dad.
I remember the stern look my father gave me: the “you-better-shut-your-mouth-and-help-the-homeless-and-stop-being-a-little-brat” look.
There is a line of people waiting outside the door of the shelter, all hoping to be fed that November morning. We open the doors and hundreds of people soon fill all the seats in the cafeteria. Young and old, families and individuals, they could all smell the mashed potatoes, chicken and crackers that my church group had prepared.
As I gave the plates to each person in line, I saw their smiles widen. I heard hundreds of “thank you’s” and “God bless you’s” from these strangers, and as the people began to flow in, I forgot about my numb fingers and the eager desperation of wanting to go home.
I had made these people’s morning and I soon realized that bringing joy to these people’s morning was more rewarding than getting frivolous NHS hours or any sort of credit for that matter.
I was sacrificing my time in order for these hundreds of people to have some sort of sustenance for the day, and I could not see why I would want anything in return.
Coppell kids are notorious for taking their everyday lives for granted. These kids automatically believe that anything they do that may put them in any slight inconvenience should automatically be given some sort of reward because of it. But this should never be the case.
Community service is not about how many hours one can turn in for NHS or towards exemptions. Community service is about selfless giving in hopes of touching people’s lives. Students should learn to feel inclined to help the less fortunate and not automatically assume that they must get some sort of benefit from it. Coppell students are already given so many opportunities and they should be moved to help the less fortunate regardless of any sort of incentive.
Coppell students should participate in community service without incentive because life is not all about doing things for the reward, but for participating in such activities to foster a more altruistic character.
Even if it is 42 degrees outside and the tiny gloves that you bought five years ago are cutting the circulation from your fingers, those minor inconveniences should not make students believe that they have a right to be recognized for helping others. Promoting incentives is not helping students foster a character of giving and students essentially need to realize, as cliché as it may sound, that giving is always better than receiving.