Volunteering at the Farm

Turns out, Pippi Longstocking inspires the strangest people. For January, I’ve been staying and helping out in a small farm in Ontario, Canada that looks like Pippi was at the very least involved with the building of it. The owner and his tenants could definitely be the “Where Are They Now?” of the stories from Astrid Lindgren.
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The Price of Bureaucracy

I’m not one for “leaning in” Sheryl Sandberg style. I’m not even one for volunteering beyond one-off opportunities. I don’t like long-term commitments because they usually mean I can’t just walk away when I want to spend a day reading a book instead. But I recently got involved with a city project, and I’m remembering why I hate helping. Read More The Price of Bureaucracy

Good News: David Brooks Is Wrong

Last week, conservative pundit David Brooks wrote a column saying that Americans were using certain words less in their writing, and this proved the U.S. isn’t as virtuous as it used to be. For instance, a study using the Google books database “found that between 1960 and 2008 individualistic words and phrases increasingly overshadowed communal words and phrases.”  Read More Good News: David Brooks Is Wrong

On Being a PTA Parent

I was a teacher long before I became a parent. I taught in a small, private preschool that catered to suburban families looking for an early childhood experience rather than simply babysitting for their preschoolers. Every family was required to volunteer 25 hours of their time, or pay a $250 fee.  Read More On Being a PTA Parent

Lunchtime Poll 12/7

Good afternoon, readers! How goes your Tuesday?  Today’s lunchtime poll is about volunteering.  After Meghan’s great post yesterday, several of the writers and editors were having a conversation about how our volunteering styles have changed as we’ve gotten older.   While all of us were pretty active as teens and in college, as we’ve had families and gotten jobs and had to be adults all the time, it’s a lot easier to write a check.  What do you think, readers? Do you volunteer? How do you work it into your schedule? Would our college-aged activist selves think we’re assholes for not making the time?

On Volunteering: My Anti-Helicopter Parents

The NYT has a fascinating article up titled “Frazzled Moms Push Back Against Volunteering,” which examines how some mothers have forcibly extricated themselves from increasingly overwhelming commitments to volunteer at their children’s schools. While the article overlooked the major elephant in the room, that fathers apparently feel untouched by any obligation to volunteer, commenters left no stone unturned in pointing the finger of self-righteous blame at dads, working moms, stay-at-home moms, over-achieving moms, basically any kind of mom, and the school districts themselves. Read More On Volunteering: My Anti-Helicopter Parents