Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Outwards not Inwards



When you get to a certain age, I think that it is a fairly common phenomenon to feel that you want to put something "back" into your community.
I have a friend that wants to train as a magistrate. Another became a school governor. My sister organised a community Flower Show when she approached middle age and my father threw himself  into Prestatyn Town Council life with a gusto when he was in his forties....
Perhaps it is a time when you start to look outwards?
Or it could just be that for many middle age, is a time when kids fly the nest
Whatever the motivation
All I know, is that it happens.

Tonight I go to an " open evening" for volunteers at The Samaritans . I had an interview at our local branch last year, but missed the induction because of work, so I was pleased that the powers that be remembered my application and asked me to attend the workshop tonight.

What is the motivating factor for this seemingly altruistic change of direction , I hear you ask? Well the answer may surprise you.... It's not a throwback to my psychiatric nursing days... It's not ( and I am sure about this) just a " look at me...what a lovely person I am" kind of moment....it is , in fact, just a logical step for me to utilise some established skills and give something back to a society which to my slightly cosseted sensibilities, can look occasionally very bleak indeed.

A couple of hours " work" a week.....is nothing much to ask. ....is it?

80 comments:

  1. Very commendable, I think you would make an excellent Samaritan. If you couldn't cure their problems at least you'll get them smiling :-)

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  2. Mostly a good ear and compassion...I see that in you. And as you brighten so many days in Blogland and make people smile...you'll be splendid.

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  3. It is a good thing to do but it can be hard for people who work changing shift work to give much.

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    1. True andrew...I am lucky I have the spare time

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  4. Very good...I am shamed...

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    1. Don't be
      Send me a scotch egg

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  5. I think you'll be fantastic at it. Good advice without schmaltz. x

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  6. Pleased you are doing this John as I think you are just the kind of person they are looking for. I began the training about ten years ago but didn't finish the course mainly because my hearing is deteriorating and I found it hard to hear a lot of what was said. I went to an induction day and found it all very interesting.
    My brother (who died some years ago) was very involved with Samaritans and certainly got as much out of it as he put into it. So good luck.

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  7. Good on you John. Circumstantial depression can easily effect any of us. Rural Isolation makes me depressed at times. It's great that there are people like yourself who help make life so much better for other people.

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    1. I don't think it is that altruistic Dave...it's just utilising skills I have that's all

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  8. Lots of people get to a stage where they are not able to think anything more for themselves and wish to do something for others. It is great that you are approaching that stage, or have already approached it. Someday I will too, hopefully :-)

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  9. Oh well done you. If I was still in the UK and treading the same path as I used to tread, then I would have thought about doing the same. And I can understand 'wanting to put something back' as well, and even though I am very busy on the farm, I still feel the niggling urge to put something back into the community. So, for the moment, I am making do with playing the piano to accompany a local French village choir who haven't got a pianist, which will keep me occupied until the Universe gives me a direction!

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    1. If I had kids Vera... I think I would have encouraged them to do some volunteer work as teens..... Better than any school lesson me thinks

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  10. Dear John (the 2nd sequel),
    ... oh well, you know the drill...
    let me know when you start and if they accept overseas calls...
    x
    Els

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  11. Good for you, my other half has been a Samaritan on and off depending on work for the last 30 odd years.

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  12. I think you would make a very good Samaritan, or counsellor of some sort, as you're obviously a very caring yet down to earth person.

    A female friend of mine became a Samaritan for a while, but gave it up because so many of the calls were from people pretending to need help but actually wanting to talk sex. She found it upsetting that she had to be polite to them and continue as if they were genuine, just in case, when in fact she knew they were wasting her time.

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    1. I suspect any freephone call charity gets its fair share of nuts jean.....and drunks...and pranks.......
      It's the few that really need some time that are the important ones...

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    2. Same thing happened to me, Jean.

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  13. I don't have the time, but I do contribute money to 3 different causes: animal, AIDS, and hunger. I also knit scarves for different organizations. "to whom much has been given, much is expected" is how I like to think.

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    1. Like I said before ....using the skills you have is all that is important....so many people just don't bother at all x

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  14. It is very commendable John and, I do think that you will make a wonderful Samaritan. From what I read here, you seem to have all of the right qualities for the job.
    It's funny but, one member of our family is a Samaritan and nobody could believe it. He was the one person that you would never have thought would have been a Samaritan but, he was/is really good at it. XXXX

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  15. Good idea- the world works better when we look after each other.

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  16. this seems to be a perfect 'fit' for you! and it is great to be able to use your skills to help others!

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  17. Excellent choice. I, for one, am extremely grateful to the Samaritans for their help some years ago. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for our comment

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  18. Not something I'm cut out for...so, best of luck...you'll be great.
    Jane x

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  19. I don;t know who Jean is but she's 100 per cent correct. Most people who call Samaritans don't need help, they need a cold shower...

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    1. I doubt the reali of the comment
      Mind you they will have a shock when they get me
      I don't react when nearly shagged by a 20 kilo turkey

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  20. Btw. Bel I think you should read AJ's comment
    And perhaps think again

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  21. I rang the Samaritans from Angola once. When I got the bill from Angola Telecom I was filled with feelings of depression and despair.

    We all need a shoulder every now and then, someone just to carry us through the dark, desperate night until the storm clouds clear and the sun starts to rise again.

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  22. I think you will do well as a Samaritan. Many need someone to talk to once in a while, and occasionally when they are tipsy. Lots of times that is when the problems seem even more desperate.

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  23. I started to think about volunteering for the Samaritans or for child line ages ago. Thanks for the kick up the backside John !

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  24. Done it ! ...I've just filled in the on line application. Thanks John x

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  25. I volunteered to be a Samaritan about 20 years ago. I was gently rejected, the only one out of an attending induction class of about 20.
    In the person-to-person interview I was asked "What would your reaction be if your teenage son told you he was gay?" (My answer was to tell him - "Welcome to the club!")
    It wasn't for that reason I was rejected (I assume my answer was an acceptable one) but rather, at the time I was having serious financial problems (which have lingered more or less ever since then) and it was felt that it could make me particularly susceptible to my self-anxiety being projected onto others who'd be needing help for themselves. I didn't feel at all sore at them for saying that. They were very probably correct.

    Best of luck to you for tonight.

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    1. It's easy to project your own problems onto someone else...sounds like you have great self awareness........I have worked with a load of psychiatric nurses who didn't have that

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  26. Think you will be excellent.:-)

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  27. Why does this not surprise me? :) Good on you. And like you say, everyone can do something different, depending on their skills.

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  28. John, it's a decision you will never regret. I was a Samaritan for a number of years, and it was one of the most rewarding times of my life. Reading your posts, I would say that you would be good at it.

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    1. Gary.....well done..thanks for that x

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  29. This is so true....My husband and I have been transitioning into the same type of giving. The more you give, the more you want to give, it becomes contagious. I tell everyone that since I get such a great feeling from helping others, aren't I simply giving to myself? I am quite literally asking them to do me the favor of receiving so that I can have that good feeling. Does that make me selfish? lol

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    1. Kelly , what kind of things do you both do back home?

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    2. I help with 4-H, sheep project of coarse, and we take part in several local charity events, gifts for foster kids,food pantry food drives, things of that sort. But our biggest contribution is our membership in the Juda Fore Fathers. It's an organization that gives all the money is raises to community enrichment, families that have suffered losses or ones that are having medical emergencies, High School Scholarships. You can find us on Facebook! Our biggest event is a motorcycle poker run in July with a silent auction, a live auction, games, raffles and duck races. We've also provided winter outdoor clothing for kids at the local schools. Great group of volunteers that gives every penny they take in to give back to the local residents. Our local knitting group also does projects like helmet liners for the troops, scarves for veterans, blankets for newborns, preemie hats for the hospital, prayer shawls for the elderly......it's all so much fun to do.

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    3. Now aren't you sorry you asked? lol

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    4. I expect a full blog about it tomorrow...
      Tell me more about the duck race x

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    5. Give me a day or two......I'll do that. lol

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  30. Do you actually have two hours to give up to the community, John?

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    1. Oh yes........I can multi task too!

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  31. No idea if I will be accepted or any good but I can try x

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  32. I tried to give back to my community by teaching at a very badly ranked high school. The kids threatened to beat me up. Now I donate money instead of myself. But you go! Good for you.

    Love,
    Janie

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  33. I did Habitat for Humanity for a couple of years. Then they started calling me every day and I hid under a rock. But like Janie said, "You go!"

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    1. Habitat for humanity sounds rather grand
      What's all that about?

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    2. They build houses for people in need. The people in need also put a lot of effort into the project.

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  34. Ps.... After all that..I got the date wrong
    Meet is tomorrow
    Duh

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  35. Hi John,

    I think you'll make a great Samaritan and as you say it's a skill set you have already. I volunteered with them a number of years ago and it was very rewarding. I'm sure you'll have a great time - most Samaritans I met had a great sense of humour and are always ready to support you. Night shifts can be a real bugger but again you already have practice; and burn out is a pretty common occurence but I think that on the whole it's a good experience that can make a real difference when people are feeling their most vulnerable.

    Good luck xxxx
    ps the tea and coffee is usually horrible but there'll be plenty of biscuits. :-)

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    1. I will supply my own coffee
      I can't let my standards slip x

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  36. Very commendable John and I know that you will be a perfect candidate for such a role. Oddly enough I've been looking at OU courses just yesterday to gear up to doing something "worthwhile" - spooky :) Hope tomorrow goes well.

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    1. Kim, what are you looking to do?

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    2. I want to do something in the counselling/social services line hopefully - I need to get started quite quickly though as I will need to completely retrain and at 45 that's a bit daunting to say the least!

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  37. All the best with it. Putting your skills to such use seems like a grand idea.

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  38. I volunteer with Lifeline (our equivalent of the Samaritans) and I get so much from it - each and every shift. Good luck - and I am sure they will be lucky to have you.

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    1. Bloody hell.....so many people here have done similar things x

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    2. Me as well. I used to be a Sam, many years ago. I don't know what it's like now, but we used to get lots of dirty old men wanting to talk mucky.

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  39. Being from the US I am not familiar with Samaritians. Is it similar to crisis telephone volunteer?
    John, even if you do get crank calls, the one person who you do help makes it worthwhile.
    You will be a fantastic volunteer and if we all had the same attitude about giving back to our communities we would all be living in a better World. Some think that your decision to volunteer is the exception, when it really should be the rule that we all find a time to give back & contribute to our communities. So many just sit back & tell themselves that others will do all those thankless tasks that are required to make a community a desirable place to live. Thank goodness for people like you John who make a conscious decision to give back to your community & make a difference in the lives of those in need of a compassionate soul.

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  40. The Samaritans are a great bunch of people, over here its Lifeline. They are invaluable if you are going through a crisis, I know all too well. So John I think you fit the bill magnificently. All power to you sir.

    Jo in NZ

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  41. But John, you are a lovely person.

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  42. With all your experience, you should do great at this, John.
    Good luck! ♥

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  43. Good on you John. :)

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  44. For for you.

    Not sure but maybe this altruistic age thing is what is leading me to move on career wise.

    Maybe it is also a need to feel that you have "done something good" at the end of the day

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  45. What's the number and can I ask specifically for you?

    U

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  46. I have a feeling that you'd be very good at it too!

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  47. Well done and good luck, not that you'll need it!

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  48. Good for you john - with the current deteriorating state of the mental health services i feel organisations like the samaritans are going to become more important over the coming years.

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