by Tina Isaacs
I got talking with one of the writers in my #MYWriters community – both of us moderate an online community on a voluntary basis – about how distrustful and unnecessarily suspicious some people are.
When organizing a meeting to facilitate the exchange of books, she has people approach her with comments like: “How much you charge? Nothing ah? Sure there is a catch wan…” Like they’re waiting for a surprise drawback whenever someone does something genuinely kind for them.
It got me thinking about my own voluntary work, both within the legal community – I reckon lawyers are a privileged bunch who should spread their knowledge to those who have little or no access to legal representation – and within the writing community (a writer friend roped me in to mentor and motivate either new writers who lack the basic writing knowledge or those who need the external push to make sure they achieve progress on their manuscripts – like a gym buddy). This got me musing about how some people had looked at me with surprise when I speak of the voluntary work I do, like “what does this girl want out of this?“.
Yes, I don’t charge a fee. No, I don’t expect you to buy me dinner either. No, I don’t intend to sell you life insurance once we know each other better. I definitely have no plans whatsoever to sign you up as my Multi-Level-Marketing downline. And I have no expectations that you buy box-loads of my books once they are released.
I just genuinely want to help you because I know what it’s like to be alone, with no one to turn to, with no one to motivate me in this lonely path I’ve set for myself. And heck, why not spread this positive spirit around? The more good writers there are out there, the better the state of our publishing industry, isn’t it?
Same goes for providing legal assistance. Isn’t it good that people don’t wander around acting to their detriment just because they don’t know what their rights are? Isn’t that better for our country, for the human race in general? And NO, I’m not going to surreptitiously send you a bill for legal fees somewhere down the line. When I say I’m helping, I’m just helping, y’all. We lawyers call it pro bono work, look it up!
Well, as my friend and I discussed, there is such a sad state of distrust out there.
I wonder, is this caution a natural part of human nature?
Is it the deplorable state of human relations and crime statistics that causes people to second-guess every offer for assistance, to think that every Good Samaritan has something up their sleeve?
I know there’s the saying that “Nothing is Free”. And I agree that in this day and age, it pays to be cautious. I’m a lawyer, for f-s sake.
But, I wonder what is wrong with a person who cast doubt against the whole world? Like my friend said, she doesn’t know whether to pity, feel sad for them, or get outraged at the whole situation.
Well, to all the Good Samaritans out there, my kudos to you for trying to make the world a better place. Don’t worry too much about the nay-sayers and the second-guessers. Just keep at it because you believe it should be done, and because it fulfills your spirit and soul to give something back.
Keep calm and spread positivism, my friends…