Ok. This might be a little off topic for my blog, but since when has that ever stopped me? ;)
Lately I've been trying to sort out my feelings about philanthropy, volunteerism and the whole random-acts-of-kindness thing. The thing that I am wrestling with boils down to this - Is an act of kindness diminished if you take away a sense of fulfillment or pride from it?
My daughter's school has a volunteer luncheon every year, and every year I am invited, but I never go. I feel like going would be like basking in my own glory, which is not how I feel about volunteering at all. I feel like it is my duty as a parent and a citizen to help when and where I can and expect no celebration for it. I know that the girls' teachers are thankful for the help that I give them and the students, so why would I need some big to-do?
The same goes for bringing food to the food bank, donating money to charity, being a "parking meter fairy", etc. I do it because it needs to be done, and because it makes me feel like I'm injecting a secret little pinch of happiness or relief into someone's day. But, in feeling that sense of giddiness over my act or gift, am I actually negating the intended selflessness of the act of giving? Am I doing it for me or for them?