Mark Yablon: Try serving others for a richer life

By MARK P. YABLON, Viewpoint
Do you ever get that feeling in your gut that something is missing? Ever feel disenfranchised or wonder what is God’s purpose for you? So many Americans today are detached from family, friends, work, neighbors, places of worship and political leaders like never before.
It’s hard to put in words. Others sense something is awry, but have not experienced the benefits of what’s missing. Though they never had “it”, they long for a connection to others and for real meaning.

As kids, we knew nearly every neighbor – adult and child. We ran together, left for college, started careers and married, but we returned “home.” There was stability and purpose. We bonded through a patchwork of families living in the same neighborhoods for decades, being active in churches and synagogues, attending school, playing sports, volunteering in community projects and cultural events and trying to improve politics for future generations.

Adults are so mobile and usually in a rush. They change careers and states more often than autos. People are too busy to know their neighbors, much less regularly interact for fun and to improve community. Many “get” what they “need” for instant gratification and immediately seek the next “hit.” They go through the motions, respond to who knows what and why and wish for only God knows what or why.

Too many kids today may never experience growing up appreciating the value of long-term relationships and the communal bond for another reason. The rampant numbers of “no fault” divorces show children not to be accountable to one another since even “permanent” relationships become disposable, unilateral contracts, not interdependent relationships that vibrant cultures were built upon.

I was pondering these thoughts as I walked from my office to my Rotary luncheon at Rick’s Chophouse in Historic Downtown McKinney recently. I had a few minutes to reflect with no stop lights or cell phones (turned off for Rotary) to interrupt. That’s when it occurred to me that most people would benefit from and could help many more as part of Rotary International, Lions, Kiwanis and others. The public knows their names, but not their purposes.

On many levels, society benefits from membership. When Paul Harris helped found Rotary in downtown Chicago, he was a young lawyer new to town who initially wanted to network with other disconnected professionals in town.

Fast forward 100 years, and Rotary is known as the leader in abolishing Polio worldwide except in four countries. I understand Bill Gates Foundation gave its largest grant to Rotary because it’s is considered the most viable group to permanently eradicate polio worldwide.

I’m not saying you’ll find purpose and unity with our community only through joining a service club. But, I personally know the value in helping future generations by being part of something bigger than myself that will outlive my kids. Paul Harris probably never dreamed his club would do such grand projects, but thank God he understood it takes one person to act before the rest of society benefits.

Mark P. Yablon is an entrepreneur in Historic Downtown McKinney. He can be seen with his four beautiful daughters leading them in various community and church activities, including pro-American, pro-family and pro-business causes. He was a Rotary Student of the Month at Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena, Texas. Yablon joined McKinney Rotary shortly after moving here in 1993 and is a Paul Harris Fellow. E-mail him at markyablon@mckinneyoffices.com for more information on Rotary, including one of the newest clubs forming in Melissa, or to comment on his thoughts.

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