Parenting is the Ultimate Volunteer Job
Twenty-two years ago, I signed up for a volunteer job. It had long hours, lots of sacrifices and hefty dues. There are many volunteers like me, and because of that, we are too ordinary to be in the newspaper society pages. Yet we are the most important kind of volunteer; we are the building blocks and the foundation of civilization. Dear society, it’s time you recognize the Everyday Parent.
We don’t know what kind of work we commit to. We are given children with autism, learning disabilities, mental health issues, etc, and we can never quit. Granted, we get non-monetary payoffs such as sticky hugs, dimpled smiles, unconditional love and friendships that never die.
We only ask for a few simple things to make our volunteerism easier. We need encouragement, not judgement. The babies we breastfeed in public save you healthcare tax dollars down the road. When we choose not to use institutions such as daycares and schools as partners in our volunteering, we ask for fair, equal taxation instead of penalties. We need support in the small things: stores without candy displays at the checkouts make our volunteer work much easier.
It is with a heavy heart, I have to say goodbye to my children this week as they head off to university for another year. For my sacrifice of broken furniture, sleepless nights, and camping vacations, in the near future you will receive a teacher, a nurse, and an engineer. My children will serve you, and hopefully take up volunteering to raise even more volunteers to serve you.
Parenting is the ultimate act of volunteerism, and it is parents who make the biggest investment in your next generation. Everyone benefits, for every child brings gifts to our society. As a parent and lifelong volunteer, all I ask is respect, support and non-judgement.