When the guy described what he thought the world needs, I thought it was pretty insightful. Okay, the guy was me. But I still think it was pretty good.
Last Monday night, the Clinton Kiwanis Club had a joint dinner with all the Sampson County Key Clubs. There were students and their teacher advisors from Midway, Union, Clinton, Lakewood, and the Early College High School. Key Club is a student led organization whose goal is to encourage leadership through serving others. Key Club is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. The Clinton Kiwanis Club sponsors the Key Clubs here in Sampson County.
After wreaking havoc on the pizza buffet at Pizza Inn, the students started to share about the activities at their clubs for the coming year. A couple of the clubs are in the planning stages and just getting things going. But others shared about plans to work with the Salemburg Food Bank, Backyard Buddies, Special Olympics, Trick or Treat for UNICEF, and other projects for the coming year. It’s great to see young people giving of themselves and their time. It’s also encouraging to see their teacher advisors taking time out of their already busy schedules to support and guide their students.
At the end of the dinner, I gave the closing remarks. (I suppose someone had to.) Looking out to the students and their advisors I asked. “Do you know what the world needs?” (Later Terri told me she thought I was going to say, like the song, “Love, sweet love.”)
First, I told them, the world needs leaders. A long time ago, I heard a good definition of a leader. A leader is the first one to do the right thing. (Thanks, Pastor Lynn Blackburn.) When you are a leader and doing the right thing, often you are out there by yourself for a time. But others will follow and do the right thing also. I reminded them by their being there they were already leaders.
Second, I told them the world needs thinkers. Not sheep who follow the crowd, but thinkers. Finally, I told those Key Club students that the world needs doers. And with all the service projects they have planned for this school year, these Key Club students are making a good start.
I’m sure those students went home Monday night and told their parents about the inspirational speech given by the old Kiwanis guy. Well, probably not. But, hopefully this year, while they are doing all their service projects, they will learn something that they don’t forget. Maybe they will learn the joy of serving, and not spend those service hours just padding their resume for college and their future.
Serving is a learned behavior. It really doesn’t come naturally to any of us. We had rather be served than to serve. And the rewards for serving are not often immediate or obvious. But they are there. But in the culture that these students are surrounded with today, that is probably hard for them to believe. A quote I read from “USA Today” a few years ago probably explains it best. It stated, “If you grow up in a culture that says it’s all about you, it’s hard to think it isn’t.”
“It’s not about you.” That’s the first line in Rick Warren’s best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life.” In the book he states that it is not about me and my plans, wants and desires. It is about determining and achieving God’s purpose in our lives. Charles Colson probably sums it best in a devotion, when he wrote, “It is not what we do that matters, but what a sovereign God chooses to do through us.”
But, maybe in some ways, it is about these students. Or it will be. In finding God’s purpose for their lives, by doing what really matters, their generation may be able to tackle and handle the many social and economic problems that the older generation (that’s the rest of us) have been unwilling to face. From what I’m seeing, I think they will do fine, in spite of us.
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org