Today at practice, though, only four of our ten girls reported that they were coming to the 5K. I was hurt and took it a little personally. My time is valuable, but I choose to spend a few hours per week with these girls because I think that what we do matters. We’ve practiced for this event for nearly two months, and most of the team isn’t even planning to be there. I wondered why I bother to schedule my work so that I can drive across town to volunteer twice a week when some practices are a struggle just to get the girls to listen and follow instructions. On those days, actually running the laps is an even bigger challenge. Why do I do this?
When I came home from practice, I vented to Richard about some of my woes. I thought about my parents, who had plenty to give and gave me everything they could to make sure that had more than I ever needed as a child. They always made sure I was where I needed to go and that the details of my life were attended to. Yet as I expressed thankfulness for being born into a family that could give so much, I also saw that some of my girls have parents who give as much as they can, but that doesn’t mean that they can necessarily afford to spend a Saturday morning driving across town to a 5K. Time and money are more precious to some than others. The amount of love for their children is the same, but their resources are not.
I lamented that my first GOTR team seemed to participate in the program more than some of the girls on my current team have, and Richard looked at me and asked, “But which girls need you more?”
We talk at Girls on the Run about how the program is so much more than the running, and it’s really about personal development for girls who are in or are about to be in some difficult years. In my own experience, running has empowered me as a leader, friend, and human, but I also had a strong base for my personal and moral development. These girls are building that base now, and I am fortunate enough to be one vehicle that brings these lessons to their lives.
The 5K will be fun, and I will celebrate with all of the girls who do cross the start and finish lines tomorrow, but these girls need so much more than the training and experience of a running milestone, even if that achievement carries over to other parts of their lives. Volunteering should never be about me, and today I was reminded in a less than glamorous way that the experience needs to be about the people I serve. If I can equip myself with the attitude of gratitude we talked about in practice a few weeks ago, the happiness I sought from volunteering should follow naturally anyway.
Photo from http://www.quoteambition.com/gratitude-quotes-grateful-sayings/
Something that made today great: being reunited with my Work Wife!
Time I woke up: 7:53 am