Are you saying “YES” much more than you say “NO”?
When I had children at home, and a notice would come home or I would attend some meeting at the school, I would find myself in a situation that “appeared” to be dire. It was this way in the 90’s and it is this way in 2000 and now in the next decade of 2010. Funds are being slashed (although this word does not seem to really cover it well). When we sit in these meetings we get the distinct impression that if “WE” do not do something, give something or just plain write a check out that our children will be harmed for not having something.
This is a truism. This is a fact of the broken world we live in. It is not only happening in education, but in all areas that you participate in life.
So let’s just say that you are one of those who feels the tug at your heart and then guilt sets in and you do the one thing you know better than to do…..your hand shoots up and you say: “YES”!
Once you have said yes, and you are one or two meetings into what is involved, you find things around your home, your career and your life beginning to slip. It doesn’t happen all at once it is gradual. One missed chore this week due to something directly related to your “YES”. Another missed something over here due to that hand shooting up in the air. And after about one month you begin to feel drained, stretched, piles everywhere and there are grumblings coming from your family.
What happens then is that you become “obsessed” with “COMPLETION” so you can exit. You know this feeling if you have ever been a volunteer. You just want the obligation or the project or the event to happen and be done with so you can get back to your life.
Have you been there?
I sure have!
Here’s a solution to the feeling that: “….my child will someone be damaged or “less” if I do not volunteer…..”:
1. Take a good hard look at your “real time availability” in your normal week. How much time do you actually have to give away?
2. Where are you the strongest in your own skill-set and if you have the time from #1, saying that: “….I have this strong skill and I can volunteer “X” hour(s) to this project.
3. If you do not have the time to allocate, do not go to the meeting. I can guarantee, you will get an email, voice-mail, text, or some kind of plea from your child’s teacher or school stating their needs.
4. If you have only 1 hour on Friday afternoon from 3 – 4 while your child has gymnastics in the school gym….then offer it….let them use you as they see fit for that 1 hour and feel good about your contribution.
Yes, you are correct! I am saying; sitting on your hands does not work, because our guilt threshold is too low and our hands just naturally shoot up! I am telling you to “stay hold” and avoid the whole guilt trip. Make your volunteerism work on your terms so that you are not drained and those things which are a high priority in your home and family do not come in 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 10th!