"Hey Doc, can I ask a favor of you?" one of my patients asked me, as I finished examining him in my office, a few days ago.
"Sure," I replied, looking at him.
"I'm quite a successful businessman in the area, and I have started a good-sized local charity organisation," he said.
"That's wonderful," I said, and I meant what I said. I firmly believe that we need more of us who give back to the community.
"And I wanted to ask you to be on the Board of Directors of the organisation," he continued.
"Is your charity related to healthcare?" I asked.
"No...not really," he replied. "Its more of a social networking organisation."
"Then why do you need me on the Board?" I was confused.
"It just looks good to have a physician on the Committee. You don't have to do anything and you get your name on the letterhead. And we have a lot of communications with our sub-organisations all the time," he replied.
I paused for a moment. The day had just started and my office schedule was full. I really didn't have time for this.
"It's very kind of you to think of me. I only get involved in charity organisations if I really do something meaningful. But I'll give you names & numbers of a few people who love to see their names on any piece of stationary," I said.
"You sure, Doc? Your name will get out there." He looked a little surprised.
"Thanks again, but I am okay with my name being where it is. Good luck with your venture," I smiled.
Too many people use the word charity just to prop up their self-esteem and to falsely inflate their self-worth. And that is so unfortunate, because it devalues the real work done by true charitable organisations. As we grow in life, there comes a stage when our needs & wants balance out. That is when we get the urge to do something for others, to give back. Like Mohammed Ali once said, "Service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth."
I often tell my friends, that if you want to do some charitable work, do it because the urge emerges from your soul. And do it because you really want to do it, and not because you need a headline or a photo-op. Do something significant that leaves a local footprint in your community, so that your next generation may visualize it and is inspired.
"Blessed are those who give without remembering, and who take without forgetting."