Helping: It’s the Right Thing
When I was in elementary school, a highlight of our monthly general assemblies (aside from the thrill of simply getting out of class) was the handing out of the “Helping Hand Awards.” These treasures made from laminated construction paper were given to those of us who were diligent little helpers in ways such as keeping our classrooms clean or assisting the teacher in setting up the overhead projector (bonus points if you actually remember what those are). I am sure that somewhere in the deep recess of a closet, my parents have a box containing the Helping Hands that I received as a child. They are souvenirs of a simpler time when the thrill of getting an “award” and being called up in front of all of the other kids was motivation to keep striving to help out as much as possible.
As an adult, though, I try to help others not because of some external reward, but because it is the right thing to do. My own intrinsic sense of doing good is worth more than a laminated piece of paper (even if it is pretty). Yes, as an adult I have received a few awards for various things I have accomplished. It is perfectly normal to enjoy accolades and recognition, but these should not be the end goals.
When we help others, we acknowledge our own vulnerability in a way. We never know when we might need to be on the receiving end of help. I know that some people believe in karma or that “one good turn deserves another,” and that is not always the case. Sometimes we help those who cannot possibly do anything for us, or who may not even appreciate our help. Still, we continue to help. Our actions are their own rewards.