This week we joined the mayor and 40 other volunteers at Klug Park to celebrate “Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service.” One thousand mayors around the country came together to recognize the importance of volunteerism and service in our communities. This day of recognition was full of press conferences, cameras, publicity, and service. We were there for the service. While the mayor spoke in front of all of our local media, I filled out the waivers so that we could get started.
After the pomp and circumstance was over, we went to work. We spruced up the park by picking up trash, debris, and tree branches. The girls and I filled up more than seven trash bags in less than one hour. It is awesome to see the snow melt, but the treasures (or mess) that is uncovered is less than desirable. When finished, the entire park was clean and new mulch was spread throughout the playground.
Week after week I am inspired by the giving spirit of my beautiful daughters. There is no task too difficult and no need too big for their hearts. They are not afraid to roll their sleeves up and get dirty to make a difference in our community and in the lives of others. At the ages of 15 and 13, they truly are world-changers. I am very proud of them and I cherish the moments we have to serve together. We work. We talk. We laugh. We work. This experience, like most that we have encountered, was enjoyable. Being together is enjoyable.
It is great to see the mayor recognize the need for service in our community. However, it would be nice for our city to see him do the actual work. Instead of his fancy suit and tie, he should have been in jeans and a sweatshirt. Instead of rolling up his sleeves to shovel one load of mulch for the ultimate photo opportunity and then leave, he should have worked side-by-side with the volunteers during the entire event. He missed an opportunity to lead through real, intentional action that would demonstrate his true support of service to our community. His missed the opportunity to be a servant leader. Instead, in the eyes of this citizen, it was all just a publicity stunt for a city official. It appeared to be a check-off-the-box moment.
Don’t just check off the box. Get involved. Find your passion. Commit to making a difference. Serve with your family. Recruit others. Share your story. When you do, our community becomes a better place.