How many of us have ever done something for someone when we really didn’t want to?

Of course, we can all probably answer that question with a yes. Altruism is the belief in and selfless concern for the well-being of others.

Further, it is the belief that the well-being and happiness of others is actually more important than the self.

Where would we find altruism in Paulding County? There are so many altruistic behaviors performed daily by countless people in this community and we don’t even recognize it.

The person who performs a random act of selfless kindness by taking a cart back inside the store for someone else, is displaying altruism.

The youngster who holds a door open for a stranger or helps an elderly or disabled person carry something to their vehicle is being altruistic.

Any act of kindness that a person goes out of their way to do for a stranger or a friend, any sacrificial gift to a charity that benefits people we don’t even know, or saying yes to helping when there was actually something else planned for the day, are all acts of altruism. I can think of hundreds of selfless acts that fall under the definition of altruism.

Why would we, as members of this community, help others whom we are not even related to and we don’t even know?

Why do we donate clothes from our own closet to a family of strangers whose house just burned down? Why does a person walking down the steps of the post office help the stranger carry their packages up the stairs and into the post office all while holding the door open for them?

I believe it is because we are social beings at heart and deeply altruistic in nature whether we think we are or not.

One of the most altruistic behaviors I can think of is being an organ donor. Why would anyone checkmark the box on our driver’s license to be an organ donor? Do we mark this box without even thinking about it?

I believe a lot of us do, and I believe it is because we understand that so many others can benefit from our loss. Being an organ donor is listed as one of the most selfless gifts a human being can give. It is such a remarkable act of altruism because the donor never even knows the recipients of their gift. One organ and tissue donor person can actually save or benefit the lives of up to 50 strangers.

There are overwhelming benefits in engaging in selfless altruistic behavior. One example of a benefit would be if a friend calls and asks us to help them move –we do it. Because we know in the back of our mind, that there may come a time when we need help doing something and we hope they will be there for us. This falls true with helping a neighbor as well.

A second benefit would be knowing that if a tragedy struck our house, the community would come together as one for our benefit. Knowing there are other people that can be counted on is probably the best benefit of all.

So, is altruism a value worth keeping and nurturing in today’s society? Does altruism benefit us as Americans living in Paulding County? How many times have we come together as a community to help a family in need and who would help that family if we weren’t altruistic in nature?

Who would help us in our time of need? Because of altruism our community thrives as a whole. With altruism in the hearts of the community members, we prosper together. When disaster strikes, we come together, we cooperate and we help each other all without thinking of any benefits to ourselves. The value of altruism makes our community and society better.

How can you be altruistic in Paulding County this week? Think of others first. Donate blood to the Red Cross. Donate food to one of the local food pantries. Volunteer. Hold a door open for a stranger. Set an altruistic example for others around you and teach the value of altruism to the next generation of community members.