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Benefits of Young People In Social Conscription

Updated on April 10, 2012

This articles focuses on the benefits compulsary conscription could offer the economy, society and individuals that are drafted.

Although written from a British point of view and, as such from this cultural background, it has lots of relevance to all Countries from the Western World.

Here, I offer a different perspective of how beneficial conscription could be in shaping our young people.

This may give them the foundations to a more appreciative outlook as they head into adulthood.

Furthermore, this experience can have a marked affect on those that they are assigned to.

Compulsary Volunteering is the message here. I am not advocating a National Service as we traditionally know it.

Here the call up can have a different meaning - a national community service!

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Before you read on, it has been two years since I wrote this article. The UK Coalition government is putting this very idea in place. It seems that we will have a National Service for the Community in Britain, starting very soon.

This is exciting, so watch this space!

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The New National Service may use young people to help dig for water so as others have what they take for granted.
The New National Service may use young people to help dig for water so as others have what they take for granted.

Conscription taught lessons in life.

When we think of conscription, we automatically think of war and the services. Please click on ‘conscription’ for a definition.

Our grandparents were drafted for National Service and had to fulfil their statutory time of two years within it. They were groomed and taught within an environment that provided firm boundaries with institutional qualities. They learned discipline, hardship and survival. Skills, such as basic cleanliness and working within a team, whatever their personalities and forbouys were, gave people foundations that they carried forward into later life.

I often hear older people say how beneficial this experience was for them and how, on reflection, they valued and enjoyed their experience – however reluctant they felt whilst serving out their National Service or draft.

Much of their experience was based around war. Many had seen a lot of blood shed and suffering. They had, indeed, seen human behaviour at its worst and best. Learning to deal with these situations created very mixed emotions, from pain to relief and happiness. The experience of emotional diversity had given them a measure for future reference to draw upon.

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I am not talking about the draft in a traditional sense, more a new form of conscription!

National Service was a rite to passage that, on their reflection, was one of the best and memorable experiences of their lives.

In this hub, however, I am not advocating a National Service in the way that it used to be. What I am suggesting is a new form of conscription. One that is more valuable than that of bloodshed.

Voluntary organisations recruit willing participators from all walks of life. The nature of volunteering suggests that a person gives of himself or herself with free will. The type of person, therefore, already has an insight into the importance of assisting others.

This ‘seeking out’ volunteering work suggests he or she has already developed empathy and compassion for others. It may also be the case that they may want to further their personal development and give to society. It is mainly for this reason that they actively seek out formal organisations that enable them to do this.

It is our young people that lack experience, empathy and compassion that are of concern. In the Western World, we are consumed with the desire for ‘stuff’. Our young people want the latest computer consoles, games and mobile phones. They surround themselves with items, all wanting to be the first to own the latest fad so as they can impress their friends.

This ingrained behaviour demonstrates that many of our young people are selfish and self absorbed. The owning of such ‘stuff’ can make people isolated in many ways and, although they read about hardship and they play games associated with all social issues, it doesn’t compare with reality.

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If there is no New National Service, you can still volunteer!

We all take our lives in the Western World for granted.

There are lots of vulnerable people in the world. This can range from our local community to third world countries. People of the Western World take their education for granted. We are bombarded with information from cradle to death, in any form from media, school to advertisements.

Much information we see as basic and don’t really give it a second thought. I will give you a couple of examples. We get a pain in our heads and without too much thought head for the medicine cabinet and swallow paracetamol. The ordinary person in third world countries doesn’t have the privilege of this information, yet alone the medication. When they get a headache, they simply suffer.

My second example…the little old lady in the next street but one who is riddled with arthritis is left in the dark because she can’t change a light bulb. Younger people take their health for granted and don’t give this task another thought.

With these thoughts in mind, wouldn’t it be fantastic if it were statutory for our young people to be conscripted into helping others over a two-year period? They would gain a wealth of experience, learn the perspectives of other’s lives and value what they have.

The experience of learning to live independently during this time would be invaluable. Through especially designed plans of varied community work both locally and internationally, it would character build and help young people to be good team members.

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The wonders of volunteering!

We already have hundreds of voluntary organisations that have experience and established infrastructures in order to implement such strategies, why not use them? Here are a few examples to click on:

  • Oxfam.... Not only do they offer international volunteering, but also at a local level. They offer services like stewarding, campaigning and the affects of devistation on third world countries.  Our young people can help to re-build the lives of vulnerable people. They are strong and, not only can do something truly worthwhile, they can impact dramatically on the lives of others.


  • The British Red Cross..Offers support locally and internationally. They help by offering services to older people, from going shopping to gardening, local emergencies, for example homelessness due to emergency, and overseas, health and social care plus lots more. The Red Cross is famous for its impartiality, friendliness and hands on humanitarianism. The video clip demonstrates how the Red Cross uses health information that we take for granted to assist those vulnerable and in crisis to help themselves.
  • more of a national volunteering organisation. CVS stands for Community Volunteer Service. They have helped over one million people to transform their lives. It is, therefore, a two-way interaction I am advocating here. These new national service conscriptees will have a life transformed and so will the people they help.

And so I advocate, a new National Service!

There are lots of organisations all over the world. With their help and expertise, young people will be empowered to make a change to their own lives and that of others. Ethics are handed down from one generation to another, thereby; changing a mind set from one that is selfish to one that is giving and community orientated.

State funding will come from the benefit and education coffers and could be justified as an investment. This is because the mind set would be changed from one of selfishness to selflessness. Dependency upon state benefits, therefore, would be thought of as unethical and money saved on community projects funded by the government would be fulfilled by the new national service, thereby making a further saving.

Our older people have been raised with the thoughts of ‘money has to be earned’ and through conscription; this idea may be instilled into our young people.

It is with this hub that I hope that I have sold the idea of a new national service or new ‘draft’ through conscription. This new national service will help increase the quality of life of everyone involved and can only be a good thing. I only hope that some governmental official might read this and it might sow the seed of change.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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Do you think that the idea of Conscription to a New National Service, as outlined, a good idea?

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    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      I think it is about time that charities start changing their role and encouraging active participation from our young people in order to create a better world for those less fortunate. Thank you for understanding my article Sparhawke:)

    • Sparhawke profile image


      8 years ago from Manchester

      I agree with this hub, I have often pondered the same thing and wondered whether a term of conscription or volunteership would really benefit the country.

      When I was growing up cub scouts and all that were growing out of favour where I live, maybe it needs to be brought back in force, never did me any harm :)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Paul gibson... the Professional brandy drinker!!! Where's the party, Paul? hehehe

      Volunteering is a label that I have chosen so as I can put my point across. The concepts behind volunteering is the issue here - how much good can come out of the efforts made and how much the 'giver' can learn from the experience. The issue here is that it may give a foundation in life for our young people.

      Does this make sense?

    • paul_gibsons profile image


      8 years ago from Gibsons, BC, Canada

      I did my National Service many years ago... and it taught me to drink cheap brandy lol..

      isn't there something contradictory about compulsory volunteering?

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Great Britain

      No.. I dont propose the military should have anything to do with it. It is the volunteer organisations that would deal with this. Conscription in this sense is about being drafted to do community work, both nationally and internationally. Thanks for reading x

    • Cagsil profile image


      9 years ago from USA or America

      Very nicely presented hub. I found it informative and an idea that could benefit society, but don't solely think it addresses problems, but adds to more political B.S. in society, where there is already too much. A Conscription would be technically operated as a division of the Military, which would leave it under the control of those who are already have too much power as it is now. I found it a great read. Thank you for sharing.


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