Just say thanks…

Unfortunately, it is no longer a matter in our world of business management that people work completely selflessly and free of charge for the common welfare. It is a good thing that the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development is being held. On this day we thank the people who are still doing this. I, too, would like to seize this day to simply say thanks all volunteers – especially, of course, the instructors in the sports and gymnastics clubs.

International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development

Every year on December 5th, the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development is a day of remembrance for the honour and promotion of volunteer work. Until 1985 it was celebrated in Germany on December 2nd as a national day of remembrance. In many places, the International Volunteer Day, introduced by the United Nations in 1986, is used to award volunteer prizes.

Honorary office

In the very original sense, the honorary office is a public function in politics. But it also means civic engagement. The action of a person for the general public – selfless, unselfish, voluntary and unpaid. Many people work voluntarily. The honorary office covers the range from the firefighters, over the parents’ councils in kindergartens and schools up to the training leaders in the sports and gymnastics clubs. The volunteers give part of their free time to do good for others. Just as it is ethically correct. 

Pyrotechnics at the Amon Amarth Concert
Pyrotechnics at the Amon Amarth Concert – Here you need a lot of firefighters backstage

Ethically correct living

Many years ago, when it wasn’t as “in” as it is today to contemplate the environment and living together with others, I once read a very entertaining book about ethics. It was called “A Life Stripped Bare: My Year Trying To Live Ethically” (ISBN 978-1903919613) and was written by the Englishman Leo Hickman. Leo Hickman tried to live without a guilty conscience for a year – ethically correct. (Absolute reading recommendation!)

Leo Hickman - Fast nackt : Mein abenteuerlicher Versuch, ethisch korrekt zu leben

Among other things, he wrote in the book that everyone should volunteer. Everyone should make a small part of their time available to the general public. If everyone does this, all tasks are equally distributed on all shoulders. A very good approach, I think.

Unfortunately, in reality it often looks different. I could absolutely understand Leo Hickman’s intentions. This is not the only reason why I have been volunteering for years. Starting as a parents’ advisory board in kindergarten, continuing as an observer in the friends´association, up to the present chairman of the parents’ advisory board of my daughter’s school. And what should I say? You always meet the same people! It looks as if there are two camps: The ones that create, i.e. are active. And the others who talk and know everything better. That is perhaps a bit badly phrased now, but it is like this: You always meet the same people again. And they are not only active in school or kindergarten. No, also at the music association, at the Red Cross or wherever. That is not what Leo Hickman wanted and what makes sense. Namely, that everyone contributes a small part to the big whole.

To whom honour is due

How good it is that once a year those who make it are honoured.

Because I also work for a city council, I can be there every year when the “quiet people in the country” who “do the hidden good” are honoured.

Volunteer award of the city of Rheinstetten
Volunteer Award of the city of Rheinstetten

And they have earned it. Because where would we be today, or how much more would we have to pay for some services if there were no volunteers? There would be no one who volunteers to study the dance with the carnival guards, who volunteers to do gymnastics with the children or who volunteers to train the football team of the local club.


Honor stands for esteem, respect and recognition. For self-respect, appreciation and pride. All values that we would like to claim for ourselves. But you have to do something about it. And even if I repeat myself: If everyone contributes only a small part to it, something really big will emerge from it. Like a puzzle with lots of pieces.

What are we waiting for?

How did the French dramaturge Molière know

“We are not only responsible for what we do, but also for what we do not do.”

So take inventory of your abilities! There is certainly something for everyone that can serve the general public.

Not only do you win karma, but also a lot of fun, recognition and self-respect. Just honour. 

And maybe even a volunteer award someday.

I wish you all as much fun as I have – Stay tuned!

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