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10 Ways To Serve Your Country
The phrase “serve your country” is now commonly understood to mean military service. This phrase is very misleading and is used by those who want to attract new recruits to the military. There are many other better ways to “serve your country” while not putting yourself “in harm’s way” - another favorite term frequently tossed about by government officials and the mindless media.
If you live in a democracy it is your right and your duty to vote. Pay attention to the issues, ensure you are registered to vote, and vote. Don’t take this right and duty lightly. The majority of the six billion people on this planet don’t have this right, and people die every day fighting for it. When you vote you make your democracy stronger.
2. Get an education
This is not only for young people. Everyone can learn something and the more you know the more you are able to contribute to society. A better education helps you to get a better job, make more money and take better care of yourself and your family, and when you do this you are making your country better.
A few years ago I told a nephew that the best way to serve his country was to stay in school, go to college, get a good job, pay his taxes and buy a nice car. And he would get a lot of girls. I think that got his attention.
3. Learn to manage your finances
Whatever your age, start saving. Get your expenses under control, get out of debt as soon as possible and save as much as you can. Go to the library and borrow some books and learn about investments. Don’t depend on the government to take care of you in your old age. The government is broke. The government has no money. It gets it from you, the taxpayer. Social security is the biggest Ponzi scheme there is. You will have to take care of yourself and your loved ones. You can count on it. So be financially self-sufficient and do not be a burden on your country.
4. Spend time with your children
If you have children, spend as much time as possible with them. The time you spend with them, loving them and teaching them, will pay great dividends in the future. Don’t be too quick to hand your children over to daycares and babysitters. They are not the best and can never replace a parent’s love and care. Talk to your children, listen to them, play with them, read to them and generally be there for them. If you do this you will be creating great citizens for your country.
5. Go to church
Whatever your religion, if you haven’t been attending church, mosque or temple, begin. One of the best things I did for myself, my family and my children was to attend church almost every Sunday, and to take my children to Sunday school. You’ll meet some of the best and nicest people at church, and your children will learn difference between right and wrong from someone other than you. Just be certain to avoid the fringe or fanatical groups.
There are many great organizations which need a helping hand. Do what you can without sacrificing time with your family and loved ones. Without volunteers, a lot of beneficial work will be left undone in our communities. I volunteered at my church, for my professional organization, for my son’s hockey and little league teams, and for my condo board of directors. I had the most fun with the hockey team.
Give whatever you can to causes close to your heart. Choose carefully to ensure that your money will be used wisely and for the purpose for which you gave. The larger charities have huge overheads so you may want to do your research before you write your check.
There is also a spiritual aspect to giving. All religions encourage it and when you include donations in your budgeting it adds another level of helpful financial discipline. Many services in your community depend on charitable donations which are used to help the needy. We cannot live for ourselves alone.
8. Take action
As a young man I read a book titled “You Can Change The World”. This book had a great impact on me. There are many books with that title now, but the basic principle remains the same. One person can make a huge difference. Instead of complaining about the government, or the large corporations or city hall, call the company’s head office, call your political representative, email the mayor or write a letter. One persistent individual can accomplish much.
9. Support Farmers
Regardless of the amount of money you have in the bank, the number of gold bars in the bank vault, the magnificence of your mansions or the number of luxury vehicles in your garage, you have to eat, and it’s farmers who produce the food for your table. We lose sight of this basic fact because most our food comes neatly packaged. Without farmers there would be nothing to package.
10. Care for your environment
Our very existence as humans depends on a healthy environment. The rapacious banks and multi-national corporations couldn’t care less about our environment. The BP oil disaster probably irreparably damaged the Gulf of Mexico, and the “development” of the Alberta tar sands has the potential to create an unmitigated environmental disaster which future generations will struggle to reverse. These are just two examples of the damage being done by Big Oil.
Do what you can in your community and join with others to bring pressure to bear at the political level. It’s a start and it’s better than doing nothing.
These are my ideas of what we can do to serve our country other than joining the military. I know that we cannot do every one of these, but we can start with one and go from there. Whatever positive action you take will have an impact for the better, and benefit us all.