“Excuse me. (tap, tap) Welcome, to the 2015 InsertAnyClubHere meeting. Before we start, I’m going to need a few volunteers.”
“Where did everybody go?”
Does this scenario sound familiar? Whether it’s your child’s school, a society, your church/temple/synagogue, you have surely witnessed this battle of the wills.
As I see things, there are two types of people: “those who help” and “those who think they help, but are sorely incorrect.”
What is it with people not wanting to volunteer? I don’t know if you got the memo, but “not volunteering” is the new “thank you notes.” Gratitude is so last season.
I realize not everyone acts this way, so I don’t want to come across as bitter or cantankerous. So for those of you who are gracious and generous of your time, this rant is not aimed at you. However, those who rarely volunteer probably don’t give a rip and have moved on searching for something regarding their awesomeness.
Generally, in parenting the Volunteer Police start you off slowly. Volunteering is never expected of someone who has a newborn. Ever. We’ve all been there and feel your loss of free time and sleep.
The next stage is where it slowly starts: Careful when you announce your child is potty-trained. You will get that first call in 48 hours. Obviously, you have more free time since you aren’t always in the powder room. Plus, now you must have extra money since you gave up the diapers.
How about a big donation to the preschool carnival?
Most preschools require that you bring your child a snack. Sometimes it’s every day for just your child, or they take donations of bulk snacks and when the teacher runs out, she will ask for more contributions. This is the beginning of the end. You are now in the throes of the Volunteer Police until the day you die. Prepare for those parents who don’t “remember” to donate snacks to the classroom. They will be the same ones who remain on the Too-Busy-for-You List through high school.
Seriously, life is so busy you don’t have time to pick up a jumbo-sized crate of Goldfish while you are doing your weekly grocery shopping?
Now I realize not everyone can afford purchasing snacks for the entire class, so obviously you get a free pass. And I’m so sorry you are having a rough patch. But Ms. Lazy Britches needs to make a note, a list, or set a timer on her phone to pitch in a tad.
In grade school, the amount of things to volunteer for increases tenfold. The children are not only in school all day — thus, requiring numerous parent volunteer requests — but many kids are in multiple extra-curricular events, which require at each game: snacks, drinks, massages, throat cultures, pedicures.
If you boldly choose to get involved in the PTO, you know that filling up your slots for volunteers is as much fun as a root canal. Or if you are the non-coveted position of Room Parent, you might as well plan on bringing backup treats for every party.
Even if you send out an email asking for the volunteers to acknowledge what they will be bringing, don’t expect to get more than a 10-percent return rate. Just pray the parent dropping the ball won’t be the one assigned to the sweet treats! I’ve personally seen that and the mayhem is NOT pretty.
So you might say, “But does it really matter if the kids don’t get all the snacks?” No, I don’t enjoy my kids running wild like they are on crack. But yes, it is a big deal that so many people expect to be catered to. If they don’t volunteer, some other sucker will cave in and do it.
It’s those flakes’ own fault that they agree to everything.
Maybe you should go back to your Candy Crush marathon or balancing your business’s budget and let all the slacker stay-at-home moms take care of your kids?
It’s time for everyone to step up and join the volunteer game. What ever happened to the “it takes a village” attitude? Afraid if you are weak and help out, forces will draw you in with their gratitude spell, make you sing Kumbaya, and add you to the PTO board?
Take a chance. Prove that you care.
You can always say “No” when you have reached your limit. But you won’t know what your limit is if you don’t throw yourself into the game.