When Volunteerism is Misunderstood as Meddling
…Sympathy and Cooperation Suffer
By Apolinario Villalobos
While it is true that each of us has our own life to live, there are instances when sympathetic acts which are given voluntarily in the spirit of cooperation are necessary. Unfortunately, some people view this as some sort of meddling in other people’s lives. Sympathy is extended to give comfort to grieving people, aside from lightening up their heavy load of responsibility. Such act is usually manifested through soothing words, action, and material comfort.
What is bad is that those who have no intention of volunteering sympathy try to dissuade others from doing so, especially, if they have a grudge against the beneficiary of such sympathy. One community that I know has so many religious proponents but they are on their own, except when they see each other during the weekly liturgical service during which they put on the best face they could muster to hide their feelings toward each other. Each is afraid to volunteer counsels for fear that they will be misconstrued as meddling. Prayer meetings are held but shared feelings become useless because they return to their usual selves after they leave the meeting place. The habit of backbiting is still enjoyed by them, and envy is still manifested as they pull each other down to ensure that nobody is above anybody.
A friend who belongs to this community and who relinquished her duties as head of their organization shared her disappointments about this wicked attitude of her neighbors. When her plan to help the incoming officers by way of suggesting some important hints in running the organization was known by her friends, she was practically told to leave the new officers alone, and for her not to meddle since she is no longer an officer of that organization. These same people also, just has no kind words for the volunteers who spend their spare time in assisting the parish priest. Instead of praising the volunteers who have more time than them in assisting the parish priest , they look at them as a bunch of suckers.
In another community, the head of a non-religious organization , confided that he was discouraged to share everything he knows in running an organization to the incoming new set of officers. Those who did are supposedly his close friends who told him that his plan is tantamount to meddling which might be misunderstood as influence peddling. This is contrary to his plan which is to support the new group of leaders in their endeavor. He was even prodded to spend the budget on hand for whatever projects he may think of, and let the new group raise the replenishment to show them that leading an organization is not easy. But obviously, those who are trying to influence him are not in good terms with the new set of officers. They tried to use the outgoing leader as an instrument in getting back at them. Fortunately, the outgoing leader, proceeded with his plans and gained the respect of the new set of officers.
The above are just examples of how some people can easily destroy the essence of volunteerism which is a necessary component of sympathy. There are some people who enjoy the helplessness of others when this could be avoided if a helping hand is extended. This attitude is made worse by their ploy to use others as instrument in carrying out their evil desire. These same people would rather see the failure of an organization than witness how recognition is given to those who are successful in their effort to uphold its integrity. It seems that these kind of people live on the dictum: let others suffer for their acts and let them break their back for something they want.