January 21st, 2016
by Jon Schuessler
Life gets busy if you don’t say “no”. Family, payments, work, cooking, appointments, chores, shopping, travel... these things can pack a schedule all by themselves. With all of the debt, and distraction, and noise, it’s hard to even take a moment to think sometimes. When a person does get a quiet moment, most of the time all they want to do is unwind, watch a movie, or hop on the net.
We get it.
Still, many people find the time to goof off, usually on their phones and computers. The average person spends about 1-2 hours a day surfing the Internet, according to market research. About 12 minutes a day on average are spent playing video games - and both of these numbers are increasing. To top it off, adults spend about 5 hours a day watching television.
As for community service, however, we’ve been going in the opposite direction. Missourians have been volunteering, on average, about 12% fewer hours compared to ten years ago. The same goes for voting, which recently hit a historic low of 30% of the voting-age-population in the last general election (November 2014). The truth is, people have been steadily withdrawing from the civic realm.
What if that changed?
What if, overnight, everyone decided to spend just 2 hours a month getting involved in some way in their society. Instead of turning on the game console that night, a person invited their neighbor over for dinner. Or dropped by to help build a house, or investigated their kids’ school budget, or volunteered time to a shelter.
Imagine how much better informed everyone would be about local issues. Think of all of the people you’d meet – both good and bad – and the stories you’d have to tell later in life. It’s hard to enthrall your audience with tales about playing Call of Duty.
Our society doesn’t do well when people don’t keep it honest. Too few people are paying attention right now. Too many have become embittered, or given up without even trying to make a difference.
What kind of future can our children hope to have if nobody has the time to make it better?
Two hours. Just two hours a month can change the world. Isn’t one day out of the year a cheap price for a better future?
So get out there. Get informed, get involved, and by God don’t let anyone stop you.
Because without you, nothing good happens.
Jon Schuessler is a Volunteer leader in Jefferson County, and the chairman for Missouri Volunteers for Government Reform, a Political Action Committee (PAC) of the Volunteer Movement. Click here to read his bio or contact him.