Sheila's Books
Click on the covers to read more or order autographed copies!

My Webrings

Crazy Hip Blog Mamas Members!



Medical Billing
Medical Billing

For ALL Your Graphic Needs

Dine Without Whine - A Family 

Friendly Weekly Menu Plan
Rethinking Public Service
Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here's this week's!

As the academic year opens, our centres of higher learning are filled with idealistic young people who yearn to “make a difference” in this world. Some will become teachers, or social workers, or public defenders. Others will work in international development, or health care, or even politics. These are all very worthy pursuits.

However, they are not the only worthy pursuits. When we think of “public good”, we naturally turn to professions which aren’t supposed to make a profit. And yet many who have not laboured for the government or for charities have also improved our world.

Think of the person who invented bicycle helmets, or car seats or air bags. Did they not make the world a better place? What about the new drugs that reduce blood pressure, slow the onset of MS, or control seizures? Have they not increased the sum of happiness in the world?

Last year, Norman Borlaug passed away. He is estimated to have saved more lives than any other human being in history, and yet you’ve likely never heard of him. He researched and discovered out how to create high yield, disease resistant crops, increasing the yield in places like India and Pakistan fivefold. His research launched the modern “Green Revolution”, and prevented the population bomb that was widely forecasted in the 1960s from exploding. Because of his new farming techniques, larger populations could thrive. And yet he was not employed by the government. He did not take politics or social work in university. He took forestry and plant pathology, and he worked for Dupont before moving to a Foundation.

When my mother bought our first microwave back in 1983 it cost $500. Our current microwave is larger and cost half of that, despite inflation. The companies who were able to produce cheap microwaves have made this world a better place, too. The companies who created flame retardant clothing, or refrigerators, or even certain cars have also made our world safer.

Perhaps we should stop thinking of “public service” as something which one can only do if one works in typical “caring” fields. After all, has not Thomas Edison done as much to help the world as your average teacher, if not more? Have not the cell phone companies, which have allowed African countries conduct business, even in the absence of landlines, done as much good for that continent as the NGOs?

I am not arguing against NGOs. I’ve worked for some myself, and I plan to keep on doing so. It is just that we create a false dichotomy that goes something like this: profit is bad, nonprofit is good. If you want to change the world, you must do so in the nonprofit sector.

I don’t believe it. I think the business world needs just as many idealistic young people as the nonprofit world does. Many technological advances done by business, and motivated by profit, have made this world a better place. But even if the product itself is not revolutionary, is not the entrepreneur who starts a cement company that employs two hundred, or a businessperson who starts a plumbing company that is reliable and honest, also contributing to our world?

Kudos to young people who want to leave their mark in a positive way. We need more people like you. It’s just that we need you everywhere, and not only in the typically caring professions. So if you’re unsure of what you should do, consider Science or Business or the trades along with social work. They’re worthwhile pursuits, too, and we could use people with big hearts and big plans everywhere.

Don't miss a Reality Check! Sign up to receive it FREE in your inbox every week!

Labels: , ,


At 10:42 AM , Blogger Tessa said…

I just read an article in my chuch's magazine that talked about how to be a Christian employee. I think that it's not so much what you're doing, it's who you're doing it for. Do it for Christ and He will use it.
Also, you never mentioned the good that the agriculture sector does for the world ;) People need to eat right?


At 11:42 AM , Blogger Toyin O. said…

Sounds like a great advice.

Post a Comment
<< Home

About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

See my complete profile

Follow This Blog:

 Subscribe to To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Follow on Twitter:
Follow on Facebook:

Important Links
Previous Posts

Popular Archived Posts
Christian Blogs
Mom Blogs
Marriage/Intimacy Blogs
Blogs For Younger/Not Yet Married Readers
Housework Blogs
Cooking/Homemaking Blogs
Writing Links
Blog Design by Christi Gifford

Images from

Related Posts with Thumbnails