Remembering who we are

By Ruth Limkin

The recent dark days, filled with floods, fires and cyclones have touched a nerve. And it seems they have reminded us who we are.

According to research recently released, we’re all remembered how to be generous, and plan on putting it into action.

We read: “A survey by Vodafone revealed the number of people planning to volunteer with a charity or good cause in the next 12 months had more than doubled from 30 per cent in 2010 to 68 per cent this year.”

Aussies have always been about helping a mate, and looking out for the underdog. This is why volunteering has always been a good match for us, as it’s about helping others.

It’s also good for the soul.

Bernard Salt, a demographer, was quoted as saying, “The world has changed since the GFC. Prior to this event and perhaps even prior to recent natural disasters in Australia there was perhaps a tacit approval, almost an admiration of the quality of greed. But that view has now been turned on its head. There’s a new morality and civic-mindedness. There’s almost a spiritual element to it.”

The Judeo-Christian worldview, which has long provided an often unattributed strength to our society, affirms the notion of caring for ‘the least of these’. Other worldviews may promote the idea that ‘might is right’, or the concept that pain in this life is the consequence of sin in another (also called karma) but at our heart, we think differently.

While Australians wouldn’t necessarily call themselves spiritual people, there is a down-to-earth spirituality that resonates with Aussies, even if they don’t often articulate it. And in this spirituality, we recognise that caring for those in need is a noble thing indeed.

I’m glad that volunteering is coming back in vogue. It’s a healthy thing to engage with. Let’s be wise in how we do, and let’s do all we can to translate our good intentions into actions.