Service Above Self

Saturday, August 21, 2010

They say it’s better to give than to receive.

Yesterday I was officially inducted to the Rotary Club of Narra, a branch of the Rotary District 3830 and eventually the noble Rotary International with its sole motto of, “Service Above Self.”

A few days ago the moment this kind elderly doctor approached me at my store to convert me to being a Rotarian, I felt a strange sensation of stress. I suddenly imagined dues to pay, mandatory meetings, unpaid volunteer work, and having to socialize with high-nosed pretentious strangers on a monthly basis.

Yet who am I to judge if this Rotary thing is just stress and pressure in one package? My dad and grandpa were active Rotarians and they said it was nothing but an enjoyable learning experience. And since I really want to something that can boost my credibility other than becoming a licensed professional, I just decided to go for it and swallow the stress whole.

As much as this stress weighed like ten elephants, I just consoled myself that the Rotary is actually a thousand times more productive and influential than posting witty status updates on Facebook. I advised myself that at least I’m assured the dues I pay to the organization are used to help the deserving less fortunate and not into some greedy tycoon or malcontent politician’s pocket.

So the induction came along with a lunch meeting with the rest of Narra’s club members. The President of District 3830 himself as was present too as well as the governors of the clubs from Makati, Las Piñas (who happened to be a Korean lady) and Manila. I was pleasantly shocked and at the same time secretly embarrassed to find out I was wrong in judging them to be high-nosed pretentious socialites. Though they were all rich and affluent they were actually friendly, approachable, down-to-earth and had no traces of any “rich” behavior in them.

During my pledge the club governor humorously recalled that he too avoided the Rotary invitation like a person with AH1N1 virus. When the time came he could no longer hide from it he participated too and realized the inner joy of helping and giving to the less fortunate. He also said the opportunity of learning and participating with businessmen and professionals older and wiser than you is very much valuable, perhaps more valuable than a college degree in my opinion.

It’s so far the only international organization where members can only join on an invitation basis. Well one can actually “walk-in” and submit an application form but if just one of the members don’t find you appropriate, your application is automatically void. So perhaps being a Rotarian can pass as a bragging right, not that I plan to use it as such, mind you.

Well it’s a start to be among the many professionals, entrepreneurs and officials to organize volunteer work and learn together for the common good. After all Reader’s Digest did point out that people who do volunteer work are healthier, live longer and are happier with life in general.

As my dad said, you have an obligation to leave the world better than how you found it. And he also reminded us to be givers in this life, and not takers.
-Phil Crane

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Jiea Dee
Journalism graduate who became a seller of auto parts rather than a writer, her dream career. She has then revised her plan to make turn writing, instead of a living, to a hobby.
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