Georgia’s Young Volunteers
04 July, 2015
Georgia’s Young Volunteers
Several years ago, I wrote an editorial about volunteerism in Georgia, and I am ready to admit that I had written it in rather pessimistic tone, having doubted then our capability to perform as volunteers. Putting it straight, I do not regret my erstwhile distrust in freewill deeds of this nation. But behold what has happened recently, right in the wake of the monstrous floods in our capital city: the younger part of the distressed and mournful nation massively went out
to give a hand voluntarily to the devastated fellow citizens and their brave rescuers, working day and night to salvage the perishing compatriots as well as recovering buried in the mud and lumber human corpses and the Tbilisi Zoo animal carcasses. I don’t think this country has ever seen the elevation of public morality and enthusiasm of that magnitude except the war times, when patriotism and sense of self-sacrifice are beaten together into sincere desire and indubitable readiness to help the nation out of trouble. Maybe, there was no necessity before, which could have instigated that much loyalty of the youth towards national emergency, but when the need occurred, the young men and women of Georgia did not hesitate for even a split second to give themselves to public cause. Their rationality and devotion to Georgia were cranked up immediately when the country was faced with an unexpected Act of God that almost destroyed our capital city. I would not have been surprised had I heard that nobody volunteered to roll up sleeves to do so much needed community work in the wake of the recent devastating flood in Tbilisi, because people in our days are so tired and obsessed with their own problems in life that they have probably lost their human capacity of helping others. Now, the facts are saying something totally different: our communal decency is in place; sense of our love for motherland has not faded away; our capability of spending ourselves to the benefit of others is still alive; and our longing for Georgia’s survival has not disappeared at all. Isn’t this enough to think good of ourselves! Will this not suffice to be proud again of our younger generation, poised like one spiritually and physically mobilized team to defy the devastating power of natural disasters, happening to our people! Well, we have never lacked the underlying sense as well as expressly manifested confidence in thinking good of ourselves and being proud of our doings in general, but I would like to know more about the newly emerged strong wave of volunteerism in Georgia. What happened? Why so many youngsters have made up their youthful minds and have dedicated their burning hearts to the emergency works which nobody had asked them to do? Why the new volunteers of Georgia were all young, who turned up on the site of the disaster in a twinkle of an eye, cleaned up the mess without much ado and left the place just as wordlessly? And why was the entire nation surprised at their noble behavior? Who taught these young people to act in concert in times of hardship? What is this unanimous public eagerness based on? Where such an amazing humility of Georgia’s youth is coming from? Let us think a little better! We have often seen throngs in the streets, roaring in social and political protest; we have witnessed revolutions in this country; we have not forgotten the thousands, going to recent wars of Georgia. But we have never observed so many kids out as a crowd of passionate volunteers, sweating together over eliminating the damage with an absolutely unadulterated enthusiasm. This is something new, but not accidental, I would say! In front of us, is the generation who has grown on Western values and has imbibed its loftiest ideals, dictating men and women around that to be a Good Samaritan is nice. I have lived in America and I know quite well what a volunteer is doing there. I have done it myself on numerous occasions and I have it in my blood. The volunteer movement in the United States is made up of millions like us and is based on free will and choice of those who want to help their neighbor even if the neighbor is not asking for assistance. In the famous Land of Opportunity, celebrating two hundred and thirty-ninth anniversary of its national independence on this coming Fourth of July, it is a commonplace thing to see a regular home maker giving her time to some public cause, a retired professor teaching free of charge, moms driving somebody else’s kids to school on regular basis, churchgoers tithing as a rule, members of community doing hospice, a Jewish nurse substituting for the Christian colleague during Christmas holidays and a Christian one doing the same in Hanukah. This list may go on and on and on, and it is a perfect example to follow. As it seems, our children are not only dancing the Western style, or singing the tunes of the West, or loving to grab fast food when hungry, but they are also holding up the best Western values, including volunteerism. Let all of us the grownups mind it that for our kids, Westernization is a natural process, and even if we change this mindset forcefully for some unlikely reason, we will lose the game.
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