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|Volunteerism, Patriotism Essentials In Enhancing National Development by ghbjlkji(m): 10:09am On May 04, 2019|
By Timbiri Ebitimi J Eberibe
Let me start with the famous inaugural speech of the youngest elected president of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy in January 20th 1961, says:
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man”.
The above quotation is imperative to set the centre stage of our discourse today. Voluntarism and patriotism are two mutually inclusive concepts required for any nation to achieve accelerated national development.
Volunteerism is the policy or practice of volunteering one’s own time or services, for charitable or community works. It is to offer to do something without being forced to do it or without getting paid for it. The essence of volunteering is to help those in need. Statistics shows that more than one billion people volunteer globally. Volunteerism is multi-sectoral depending on the policy needs of a targeted society. In 1985, the United Nations designated December 5th annually as the International observance day to celebrate the power and potentials of volunteers. It is a day for volunteer organizations and volunteers to raise awareness of and gain understanding for the contributions they make to their communities.
Patriotism is the act of supporting the values set forth in the constitution, helping to ensure that everybody regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion has the opportunity to enjoy the democratic freedoms of our nation. Patriotism means having a love of and devotion for one’s country. It means being responsible for your family, your community and all levels of government with your willingness to work, to volunteer, to pay your share of taxes etc. It is also the love of your country and willingness to defend it as well as reaching out to embrace others in time of need. Our military veterans and those serving now loved their country enough to volunteer their selfless services to the nation. They are the living definition of patriotism, not those that attempted to enact unpopular and unpatriotic laws such as the recent Bayelsa State House of Assembly Pension Bill that was declined assent by the executive governor.
Volunteerism and patriotism has similar attributes and are both linked to each other. The twin concepts takes conviction of heart, intellect and caring for a particular cause or idea and it is done mostly without personal or financial gains. Volunteerism is an act of patriotism and is the vehicle by which a person can be patriotic. The both conceptual analysis is anchored on demonstrating affections and caring for people’s burden and it is biblical.
1 John 3:18 says: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”.
Also Galatians 6:2 says: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”.
However, some factors are responsible for low tendency to volunteerism and patriotism by citizens particularly young people. For the purpose of the scope of this presentation, they are as follows, flawed leadership and fellowship, get rich quick syndrome, non-compliance to civic duties and obligations, faulty value system, absence of volunteer motivation and engagement. Sin is also a factor mitigating against the zeal to patriotism and volunteerism.
In 2 Chronicle 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.
Also Proverbs 14:34 says “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”.
God admonishes nations to refrain from sin to better the lives of people in every nation.
Furthermore, youth development is the overall improvement of the welfare of young people and it is an integral part of our national development. We shall now consider some benefits of patriotism and volunteerism to youth and the growth of our nation.
1. INCREASE SELF CONFIDENCE: Volunteerism and patriotism increases self confidence, self esteem and life satisfaction. As a youth, you are doing good for others and the society, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.
2. CONNECTS YOU WITH OTHERS: Volunteerism and patriotism connects you with others and helps you make new friends, expand your network and boost your social skills.
3. GENERATES WELLBEING: Volunteerism and patriotism makes specific contributions by generating wellbeing for people, communities and improves the quality of their lives.
4. MAKES GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIVE: Volunteers and true patriots play vital roles in making government worldwide more accountable and responsive to their citizens.
5. ADVANCES YOUR CAREER AND JOB SKILLS: Volunteerism and patriotism advances your career, job and civic skills to attach more importance to serving the public interest and to be more politically active.
6. ENHANCES PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH: Active involvement in volunteerism and patriotism enhances your physical and mental health, it is good for the mind and the body.
7. PRODUCTIVITY: Patriotism and volunteerism drives one’s incentives towards making positive contributions to their nation’s economic performance. Patriotic people work hard towards the economic prosperity of their country.
8. MOTIVATE SOCIETAL VALUES: Volunteerism and patriotism motivate societal values like justice, equality, freedom and the principles of servant leadership as expressed in the United Nations Charter. A society which supports and encourages volunteering and patriotic gestures is likely to be a society which also promotes the wellbeing of its citizens.
In conclusion, patriotism and volunteerism should not be ignored as part of youth development. Young people should be passionate and have positivity mindset to add value to their nation by volunteering and being patriotic. We must be focused, determined, hardworking, diligent, persevering, creative, productive and becoming spiritually conscious for God and our dear nation. As I take my leave, remember youth is a time frame, use it well.
1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”.
Timbiri Ebitimi J Eberibe is a former member of the Nigerian youth parliament, and National youth council of Nigeria (NYCN) chairmanship aspirant, Bayelsa State.
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