Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tazi Takes A Vacation Day!

Dear Readers:

For the first time ever, I am taking a vacation day! Please enjoy this classic issue of Tazi's Corner, as I discuss the importance of volunteering!

Happy Sunday and welcome to another issue of

Tazi's Corner
Life As Your Pet Sees It!

Earlier this week I printed a letter about volunteering, stating in it that “There are three ways in which a person can give back to their community; they are through gifts of time, talents ,and treasure”. Although I wish I could take credit for the “three T’s”, I first heard the idea from my Mommie’s pastor (I was snuggled in the Tazimobile one Sunday when she left for church).

The Tazimobile rocks!

The idea that we all have something to give intrigued me because, as I have mentioned in the past, we cats are very generous and giving creatures. Why just yesterday I gave my Mommie the opportunity to give me some kitty snax and the honor of scratching me behind my ears! Now, as I was saying, the idea that we all have something to give intrigued me.

Time; talents; and treasure; some of us have nothing but time, and no money to spare – especially those who are experiencing prolonged unemployment. How can volunteering help these people? Many non-profit organizations need volunteers to donate their time and talents to their causes, but their needs go unfilled because people mistake volunteer work as a pursuit of those who do not have to work. Nothing could be further from the truth! Many employers see a period of unemployment as a time to improve skills or use skills to help others. If someone chooses to sit around surfing the Internet and waiting for the phone to ring, their chances of finding employment are actually less than those who are actively volunteering; keeping their skills fresh by donating them; and networking within the community. If nothing else, their efforts will earn them a valuable recommendation for employment.

There are others who believe that they have no time to give or who feel their talents are not needed; they really should think again. How much time do humans waste vegging out in front of the television or unwinding by playing marathon sessions of video games. How much difference could be made in the life of a child by donating your time as a Big Brother or Big Sister? Or by waking an hour early in order to serve breakfast at the local soup kitchen? (Here’s a hint for those seeking to network: Many “important” people volunteer in soup kitchens!). Perhaps you could spare an hour or two a week to assist an elderly shut-in with their grocery shopping? No action, however small, is insignificant if done from the heart. Too often, we choose to give only at the holidays, forgetting that need knows no season. The holidays are coming up – why not start your seasonal volunteering a little early this year?

Perhaps the poorest, most time-pressed people of all – high school and college students – have the most to give, for they have talents to share. Too often, students try to find the most impressive sounding time fillers in order to impress colleges; but let’s get real: do you think the people at Harvard are really going to believe that you willingly chose, with an open heart, to spend your summer tutoring blind children in the scorching heat of sub-Saharan Africa? Personally, I think the folks at Harvard are smart enough to recognize a kiss-@$$ when they see one. Don’t let your volunteering become farcical fodder for the annual Christmas Newsletter (…this year, for his high school senior project, Junior completed an independent study in South American aboriginal tribes, and even created an unabridged dictionary of the language of the lost Aztecs…). Instead of trying to impress people by volunteering on the other side of the globe, why not tutor inner-city children in Math and Reading? Why not choose to make a difference in your own community?

To the star quarterback; why not volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, teaching them how to play football? To the music prodigy; do you know how many underprivileged children would appreciate the use of a borrowed instrument and free lessons? These are offerings that require commitment – a commitment that goes further than sub-Saharan Africa because it is a commitment to people you will be seeing over and over again in your community; a commitment to people who will look at you and KNOW whether or not you honored your promise to help. Will you be able to look them in the eye when your paths cross? That’s the advantage of volunteering far from home; nobody is there to bear witness to your actions, they must take you at your word. I have read the blogs of students who go overseas to “help” those less privileged, and often times these trips involve more sightseeing than anything else. Jesus wept! (John 11:35).

Last, but certainly not least, is our treasure. To give of our treasure does not always mean to give money, although money is always appreciated. Many organizations – from the Salvation Army to Big Sisters – accept donations of gently used goods and clothing. We can further offer of our treasure by purchasing goods from these organizations; many a beautiful evening gown or designer purse has been discovered on the racks of your local thrift store. If you don’t want to keep your purchases, feel free to yard sale or eBay them.  Additionally, it would be a nice gesture if you donated any profit back to the providing thrift store – it’s giving without cost! Even if you choose to keep your profits, you are still supporting a worthy cause, although I know some readers will be criticizing me for not paw-slapping the capitalist out of you.

I know how hard it can be to part with your hard-earned money or your precious free time (I hate missing my nap), but please remember that even if you cannot give much, your donation will combine with the donations of others. Give of your time, and someone with talent will direct you…give of your talents, and someone with treasure will sponsor you…give of your treasure, and see others give back to you in ways you never thought possible. Whatever you do, give from the heart; be the kind of person your dog thinks you already are.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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