Albert Einstein once said, "The education of the individual aspires to revive an ideal that is geared towards the service of our fellowman, and that needs to take the place of the glorification of power and outer success."
Mr. Einstein was well aware that public service revives not only the participant, but the whole of society. When members of a society partake in public service, a community is strung together like a fine quilt. The threads that hold the quilt together are not of cotton, but of hearts and minds. If you've ever worked on a quilt, you appreciate the time and effort that goes into the project--a slow and cumbersome one indeed--taking weeks, if not months to complete. First, you must have a theme in mind, perhaps portraying your love of nature, a celebration of family and your ancestors or an abstract pattern. It doesn't matter, as long as you have a well thought-out plan and an ample supply of patience. Piece by piece, the quilt is sewn together and a pattern begins to arise.
A community's success is much like a quilt with many diverse traditions and ideas woven together to make it strong and tight. Through its commitment to include all citizens to contribute in their own unique way, it sends a message of unity and support.
In order to understand how a community succeeds, it is necessary to learn how other communities have prospered. We must seek out the stories of our ancestors to empower us to move forward, giving us encouragement to believe that we too can make a valuable contribution. The pioneers who discovered this great land, were often physically attacked, struggled to feed themselves and fought many deadly diseases. Yet they persevered in life and death situations because they were able to trust and depend on each other.
These days, life is not so desperate. But sadly, there are still people who are in desperate need of the basic necessities to survive. Many of us are too busy at work or play to notice them. I'm sure we could all do more to help.
Children--our greatest hope-are always in need of help. They learn not only by rote, but by example. By our deeds, shouldn't we show them that compromise, compassion and giving are the ingredients of a successful community and that volunteering is a noble and valuable endeavor? I believe that giving is far more rewarding than receiving and that the best things in life are truly not things, but each other.