Usually, students need to be offered incentives to do good things and even though they are perfectly capable of giving without taking things in return, many are unwilling to do so.
Many students see altruistic efforts as beneficial; however, the reason they do not commit to doing these charitable acts is because they lack the commitment.
Students as a whole are so distracted by rewards and time constraints that they have lost that selfless spirit of giving and take course of action that benefit themselves.
“An optional thing to do, no matter how good, is subconsciously seen as an extra hassle, and therefore is put toward the bottom of our priority list,” sophomore Ariel Tabachnik said. “It’s not that students don’t want to help, but rather, they feel that they don’t have the time to put in the extra effort.”
Some even believe that their efforts are better used doing things that will help only a select handful of the needy.
“Most people have the capacity to give without a clear return,: freshman Edwin Lai said. “But not to anyone and everyone.”
So are we only capable of helping those we actually know and are acquainted with?
Most say yes because they feel somewhat “connected” to the person in need. This is because many feel like people closer to home are more real to them than nameless, faceless children on donation flyers.
“It’s hard to be motivated about this type of thing,” freshman Kelly Mahncke said. “That’s why a lot of kids do things that they think would be worth their time.”
What is it then that students want as a reward for their efforts?
It seems that many, instead of working toward material prizes, want the glory and recognition that comes along with competition, such as the Second Harvest Canned Food Drive.
“We live in a selfish society that disparages altruism,” history teacher Robert Freeman said.
Freeman’s Economics AP class was well-known in the past due to the fact that his second period almost always won the annual food drive competition.
“It wasn’t really for the pizza, but more for the glory of the competition,” Freeman said. “We wanted the recognition and to compete for the challenge.”
This year, however, Freeman no longer has a second period class, and without that competitive spirit and a pizza party on the line, the school’s amount of collected cans was comparatively lower than in previous years.
The food drive, however, is only one example of the bribery and temptation involved in many altruistic acts.
Extra credit has also long been a tool used by teachers as an incentive in order to help cushion students’ grades, however, no one can rely on just a couple of bonus points here and there to boost their grade a significant amount.
“Extra credit is like a little bonus,” English teacher April Oliver said. “But students should know that they can’t do well without the fundamental work.”
Some feel as though students require motivation to do good things, because otherwise they would not bother with those extra tasks of details.
Instead of focusing on what they can gain from their actions, students should take strides to help others because they want to, not because it will result in some type of reward or acknowledgment.Right now, most students need to be offered incentives in order to take action and go the extra mile, which is unfortunate because it reflects the selfish society that we’ve created, which relies on flattery and self-absorbency.
“We’re so caught up with the idea of doing something out of the ordinary,” Ariel said. “We don’t realize how easy it actually is to take time and help out others.”