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Should doing good be mandatory?

Dear Governor of Florida,

Word has reached my high school ears with a tremendous idea. I have heard that it is becoming mandatory that all high school students must complete 10-15 hours of community service each week in addition to our rather busy, but youthful lives. I must commend you if you agree to this! For I feel that this proposition is marvelous! It will teach us character, help us to become more aware instead of narcissistic, and it will help us to overcome the hurdles of peer pressure and approval of others by forcing us to try new things! As scary as all of those words may seem to the average high school attendee, I see it as a present challenge to prepare us to be the adults of the future!

For starters, this generation will be allowed a serious character check. When I think of character I am reminded of the six pillars I was raised on that didn’t pertain directly to faith. Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship were part of the foundation I grew up on. When you have to work for someone to do community service, or when you do things such as pick up trash by the road, you have to learn to utilize every one of these pillars. You learn how to be reliable to those you work with and honest about the hours you worked. You learn to respect the world around you and those less fortunate. You remember the lessons of responsibility that your mom taught you growing up. You say a quiet thank you that she taught you how to pick up your room and that your parents were responsible enough to not allow homelessness, alcohol, or disorders ruin your family. You learn that in order to care for the entire world you have to make it fair to those that weren’t given what you have. Last, you learn that if you can’t show citizenship, your conscience pricks you over and over telling you that you don’t deserve to be considered a citizen.

In continuation, serving our community for those 10-15 hours will allow us to become more alert to our every changing surroundings. We often seem to be so consumed with ourselves when just the opposite should be true. With over 6 billion people on the planet, it seems sad that a mind should have constant thoughts of just one. When we do community service we notice that people are trashing our beloved planet! We pay heed to the poor widowed grandmas holed up in nursing homes with families that visit maybe once a month, if ever. We start to become who we truly want to be by realizing there are needs and purposes to be fulfilled! Until then we wander aimlessly from Facebook, to school, to texts, and then off to bed with nothing else. Mandatory community service would change this! How will we deal with suffering coworkers? When we have lives and jobs and no parents to constantly provide? We will feel alone and scared just wishing and wailing that we could be given just a few weeks back to learn how to not see us, but how to interact with the world and be a part of something so much bigger.

Finally, we must learn how to leap and sometimes just crawl over the obstacles that peer pressure and a yearning for approval can cause. How will we be taught to overcome them? There is no “Overcoming class”. But we do have life and life forces us to meet rocks in our paths. What can you do for us? Help us to overcome by forcing us to try new things through Community Service! When we are forced to dress in big gloves and aprons to work in a soup kitchen we are made to just get over how silly we feel we look and help the people! It isn’t about what people think! Are we going to deprive someone in need of our community service because of our so frail and easily influenced self-esteem?? Mandatory community service will help people get over that and find their self-worth in helping others and trying something new that they don’t know they will be great at.

In summation, there are quite obviously many positive reasons to allow high schoolers to have mandatory community service hours. We will be privileged to grow character and unbury the six pillar foundation of character most of us were built on. We shall also raise a generation that says, “It’s not about me because I care about you!” and we will learn that in giving of ourselves while trying new things we will not be so swayed by the opinions of society by being able to witness those crushed by the same beliefs and help them to overcome and focus on the joy of life as well.




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