I’ve sort been watching this trend away from volunteering. The service clubs in my town are suffering for active members. I’d like to help, but the spare time resources to make the commitment is not there (for me).
I used to do a lot of volunteer work. Then I got a long term illness that meant keeping a job and being self reliant was more important as my contribution to society. So I understand why low income people don’t have the drive to volunteer.
For about 10 years, I more or less slept, ate, and worked. TV and a little bit of motorcycling was my recreation (the jobs I could handle did not pay a middle class wage). I more or less recovered. I got married later in life, and two boys entered the picture. While I have more energy than before, the adding of my family took away from community service.
And I’m writing a new book. Not sure of its future. But I’m hoping to sit on a local board or two after this project is done.
This article hits the nail on one head for sure. People just don’t have the spare time they used to. And when your income is at (or perceived to be at) the subsistence level, it takes some energy away from your drive to serve the community . . . . with is very unfortunate because volunteering is a great way to make new connections, which can lead to higher income.
Another aspect to this societal trend is the difference between my parents (who volunteered a lot) and my generation: expectations for life rewards is higher. My parents didn’t have much inclination to take on resource-consuming hobbies. So they had lots of extra time. Add in the many more entertainment options we currently have, we have lost so much spare time because we are much busier consuming entertainment.
Occasionally, I like watching poker on TV. I haven’t played myself — and there is no great desire. But I find it interesting to watch others. On one front, I could put all that poker watching time to my community. On the other front, I see several hundred (mostly) men in a poker tournament who could be spending their time with service clubs in their community. The same goes for other forms of entertainment.
In many ways, we have lost that sense of priorities for serving our communities.