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True Service

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At one point he knew he was dying and he was prepared to die.   He occupied his time preparing others for his death.   He left notes hidden around his home:   making jokes, making observations about life, reminding his family members to do things, and even asking his mother to apologize to the doctors for his violent behavior all those eighteen months ago.   The wonderful little boy that he was came shining through.  

 

Yvonne spoke about how Cyle had been such a good son and how he changed their lives. But I was left with the transformation that Sven and Yvonne had achieved in Cyle's life. They put Cyle first.   He died at peace, knowing he had true parents and that he was a loved member of a real family.  

 

I say it was a transformation. Yet, it was also something more.   It was true service . They put Cyle first and they saved him.   He received what he needed. I was left with a deep feeling of gratitude for these young parents.   I am grateful because but for them my actions would have been futile.  

 

 

Power and Purpose

 

Sven and Yvonne went far beyond what was required of them as foster parents.   I have seen situations where the foster parents are merely in it for the money.   This was my great fear.   But my fears did not come to pass because they responsibly united their systemic power with their true purpose.

 

When I use the term "True Service" in this new way , I am not referring to government service, elected office or even volunteer "community service." And I am not relegating regular work or our regular lives to the realm of the "private:" Because in a certain real sense our regular work and our regular lives are not merely or simply "private."  

 

When I use the term "True Service" what I mean is dedicated work done in the world which includes a consideration of its effect on others.   It is not charity.   Rather, this new concept rests on a redefinition of work itself - in the redefinition of what a job means.   It recognizes that every type of work or job by definition is only properly done when it includes consideration for the needs of those affected by the result.  

 

In practical terms, this means that any task can be done in one-way or the other. Any job, any work, can be done by using the power of that effort solely for one's own benefit or by looking out for the benefit that job's real purpose has for others: whether it is President of the United States or garbage collector.     True service is achieved when any job unites power and purpose in benefit to the public.

 

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Eric Z. Lucas is an alumnus of Stanford University (Creative Writing Major: 1972-1975), the University of Washington (1981: BA English Literature and Elementary Education) and Harvard Law School, J.D. 1986. Since law school he has been a public (more...)
 

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