Thought you might like to read a challenging quote or two by David Kinnamen on the reward of serving others in a real way:

David Kinnaman, who directed the study of American lifestyles, commented on the implications of the research. “Americans are a unique blend of contradictions. Mosaics want to be known as activists, but their recycling pales to that of older adults. People think of themselves as engaged in assisting needy people, but the vast majority of Americans merely dabble in helping others. Individuals who have financial means are no more likely than others to assist the poor. Never-married adults envision themselves as independent and self-sufficient, but their levels of substance abuse and sexual behaviors suggest otherwise. Political liberals want to be known for their open minds, but their profanity, cutting remarks, and frequent use of ‘payback’ undermines their attitudes of acceptance. The respect, patience, self-control and kindness of born again Christians should astound people, but the lifestyles and relationships of born again believers are not much different than others.

“The difficulty,” Kinnaman continued, “is that with increasingly personalized and self-oriented behaviors and routines, the contradictions in people’s lives will become even more apparent. Americans will become even less aware of who and what they are. As people become more interested in the latest diversion and more tuned into personal satisfaction, their capacity and energy for connecting with others – or understanding themselves – will diminish.”

The president of the California-based firm, Kinnaman suggested the moral challenges facing Americans are tied to how much they help others. “Living morally is not just obeying thou-shall-not commandments, but also actively enriching the lives of those around us. It is easy to criticize Americans’ self-indulgences and their moral lapses. It is much more difficult to find creative, customized, and meaningful ways to expose them to the needs of others. By getting the focus off themselves, Americans might experience much-needed transformation within their own lifestyles and perspectives.”