By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
The five virtues of Sikhism to reach Mutki are: Truth, Compassion, Contentment, Humility and Love. Confucius wrote ‘Goodness without a love of learning leads to simple-mindedness’, and ‘Straight forwardness without propriety is rudeness’.
There are seven deadly sins and seven virtues, and I am sure most of us have experienced all of them at some time or another. Including the suggestion of Ayn Rand who wrote the book The Virtue of Selfishness. According to Ayn, to be ‘selfish’ is a virtue, because considering yourself first leads to personal happiness, that makes you more inclined to reach out to make others as happy, whereas the virtue of ‘selflessness’, service to others, self-sacrifice, leads to frustration, weariness and low self-esteem. If you do something just for servitude, resentment will creep in sooner or later. This includes personal relationships within a marriage or any commitment where there is not equality.
Peter Schwartz argues that acts of friendship and love are acts of self-interest, explaining that you have the moral right to exist for your own sake rather than a moral duty to serve the needs of others. So where does this leave ‘volunteerism’?
The word ‘volunteer’ was taken from the French word ‘voluntaire’, created in the 1700’s to describe the newly formed volunteer army. In the 1800’s Volunteerism came into its own with the ‘Big Awakening’, people forming groups to help the poor, feed the hungry, and protest against slavery.
The first YMCA was formed followed closely by the YWCA. The Red Cross started to mobilize for disaster areas, and volunteer groups such as Rotary International, Kiwanis, Lions Club and others, all reached out to make a difference. In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty, a never ending war all over the world.
Without self-sacrificing, volunteering is fun. It has been proved to be a health benefit as people come together to change something unjust, have a reason to think outside of self briefly and belong to the better good of all. This can be considered selfish because it really makes you feel good. Volunteering for the young and old is a powerful learning experience because it involves the mind and the heart by giving energy and intelligence, plus commitment to the human and the community needs and thereby understanding cultural differences and how to live with them and share your own.
The companionship of volunteering does become self-serving, because you will become extremely pleased with self. To have a friend is to be a friend, and to give is to receive. Have a totally selfish summer and volunteer for the Tepehua Treasures Team, supporting medical and dental services, education and self-improvement in the barrio of Tepehua, one of the poorest areas in Jalisco that sits on an unforgiving hill overlooking the opulence of Chapala, a bustling beautiful tourist town...so near and yet so far.
MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING
Column: Profiling Tepehua
Settled in Mexico 13 years ago. The intention was to retire into the arts as a writer, poet and painter...that didn’t happen. Beneath the smiles of the peoples of Mexico there was such a great need for change, especially for the women and children of the barrios, Moonyeen has dedicated these years to change the face of this little corner of the world. The work done by the volunteers of the Tepehua Community Center is teaching that change is possible anywhere. Moonyeen was portrayed as “Woman of the Year,” also two Paul Harris Rotary awards for the work done at Tepehua. “Life in Mexico is very fulfilling. The Mexican people give so much more to us immigrants than we can possible return.