William Lamb, Lee University Leonard Center director, asked that simple question at the meeting this week.
“We act out our life often because we’ve learned it from somebody else,” Lamb said. “So my question for you today is why do you do what you do? Why are you a Kiwanian? Why are you a doctor? Why do you love animals?”
He said he wanted the Kiwanians to be able to answer the question.
Lamb once complimented an employee at Subway by telling her she did her job well. The lady told Lamb she had worked at the Subway for 10 years.
Lamb asked her why she continued to do what she does. She told him she had been doing it so long the act was routine.
The same question received a different response when directed at a waitress.
“‘Well I make good money,’ she said. ‘And I have a daughter and this is how I take care of her,’” Lamb quoted. “And I got to thinking about why I do what I do.”
He said one of the reasons he does what he does is because of responsibility.
“The fact that we live in a community, we know there are opportunities to affect change,” Lamb said. “We have a responsibility to seize those moments, to respond to the opportunities to affect change.”
In response to the Subway worker’s answer, Lamb asked, “how many people do something so long that it becomes so routine-ish that we can do it with little effort, but yet we don’t still see the significance or the value or the majestic of it?”
He challenged the Kiwanians to answer the question in such a way as to make whatever changes necessary to affect the trajectory of their historical emphasis in this life.
Lamb shared how his assistant said she works at the Leonard Center so she can be connected to a bigger project to help people.
“If you feel insignificant in life, you won’t continue what you are doing,” Lamb said. “...There is a value in voices. People who have given you a reason for what you are or where you are today—those live on in our world. Hence, life matters.”
He gave three examples of the proper viewpoint through calling, authorship and knowing actions matter.
Lamb said his weekly visits to the Waffle House with his father taught him how to listen. He also learned to look for what others cannot share.
“So the privilege I have is not an indictment. It is a responsibility. I have a responsibility to act upon what I know and the privileges I have to create opportunities for everyone else.”
He left the club with a final thought.
“Why do you do what you do? Why do you go where you go? Why the routine? Why the experience? Only you can answer that,” Lamb said.
In other Kiwanis news, the Harlan White Citizen of the Year Award Dinner is set for Thursday, May 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mountain View Inn.