‘Tis the season for “selfish giving”


Kennedy Barker, Co-Editor In Chief

It has been taught to many that being a generous giver is a humane thing to do, but what about when you give in order to receive?

The pressure is on high school students to crank out those service hours in hopes of fluffing up college applications. It is simply what must be done to be competitive. Although it is supposed to be a pure humble act, community service has become a routine hassle for most students.

In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that people were more likely to give when they believe it will make them feel or appear better.

It’s called “selfish giving” — when volunteers expect to get back more than just the joy of giving. But where is the line drawn?  When givers are giving in order to strengthen their business or enhance resumes, is it a win-win for all — or is something more important lost?

As a country, morality has declined. The joy of giving has been diminished. Many teenagers are only volunteering to show off their hours. Community service should be done with the intentions of bettering your community and those in  it, not strictly to better yourself.

Your motives are what deems the service selfish or not.

It is extremely frustrating to see students with hundreds and even thousands of service hours and know that their intentions are entirely self-serving. I constantly hear other students talk about their need for service hours for the college of their choice. Needing them for that reason only; not to help serve the community.

Giving is the “new black” in today’s society. It brings social cachet to the volunteers, or cash to a company. All of that egocentric giving is showing the true moral perishment of Americans.

I worry that no one understands what true giving is anymore– a tenacious, low-profile act that is not posted all over Instagram. An act that is truly only about serving others, not yourself or college admissions officers.  

Be generous just to be generous. Do what’s right because it’s right, not because of what’s received in return; because doing the right thing for the wrong reason is not charity.

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