Friday, August 1, 2008

A question for Service Nation

How might we best instill the value of citizen service early in life, develop commitment and helping skills in the course of development, and reinforce and enable all of these over the course of a lifetime? What should we expect from our public schools, colleges and professional schools, workplaces, unions and professional associations? What can local, state, and federal government do to enable and encourage greater and more effective participation?

My father, a much decorated veteran of WWII, died and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery last year. In the aftermath of his death (during the Jewish shiva period), the family located and watched an aging video of him, in which he spoke about the need for (preferably universal) national and community service to bring our nation together. He was inspired by JFK's inaugural call to service, and passed that on to the next generation. It is one of the things I will most remember about him.

1 comment:

Ning said...

Hi Alan, I'm Ning, Americorps alumni, and working with Service Nation, glad that you're bringing up questions like that.

I worked in elementary schools, so for me I hope that part of our influence is showing these youths that service is a tangible, physical, and beneficial thing. These students that we tutor, mentor, and play with now may grow up with a strong impression of the impact of service in their lives and be inspired to give a part of themselves later on.

Schools and businesses already are engaged in volunteer efforts, charity work, and donations, so it might be a generational thing where the kids who're effected by citizen service now will grow up to have a larger voice in their community.