to give up three days of my time, two in August and one in September. I will be acting as a Steward in the Arts and Crafts section of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society show. This is not something I have done before and I admit I am doing it with some reluctance. It is a compromise between doing nothing and being a Judge for the same section.
I freely admit I would have preferred to do nothing. My chaotic working life makes it difficult to commit to anything like that. It is one thing to pencil 'must attend' appointments, meetings and other essentials into my diary but pencilling in non-essential activities that other people could do always makes me uneasy.
I am uneasy for two reasons, the first is that I may let someone down. Anyone can have the sort of personal or family emergency that will render them unable to do as they promised. Everyone understands, or should understand, that. On top of that however I might be called in on an emergency basis to assist a person with a profound communication disability get their message across. There might be a 'complex humanitarian emergency' where others would really prefer me to be available 24/7 and dealing with their life and death problems first. I understand that. Do other people? Some do. Some do not.
The second reason is that there should be other people who can volunteer for this. They want the Show to go ahead. They know it runs largely on volunteers. It has to. There is no way it could be done with paid staff.
Of course thousands upon thousands of people turn up without being aware of this. Only those who participate a little more closely would be fully aware of it. Despite that they do not volunteer. Some work at the times they would be required and are unable to volunteer but others do not. Their reaction on being asked if they are interested is, "No, I don't want to get involved. Someone else can do it."
It is the same in any organisation of course. There are always some who do nothing, some who do as little as they can and others who do more than most. There are people who enjoy running meetings, keeping the accounts, attending committee meetings and arranging events. There are others who simply refuse to get involved.
My parents set the example of involvement however. We were all brought up to believe that, if you want to be a member of an organisation, you must also participate. You must take your turn.
So, I will take my turn. I will do my best and hope it is good enough. It will also allow me to wriggle out of deciding whether Mr Smith's tea-cosy hat is better than Mrs Smith's tea-cosy hat!