I believe a generous number of adults feel favorable towards service to others. Generations have grown up admiring John F. Kennedy's words about service, and yet how firm is your belief in serving others?

More to the point, are you so committed to serving others that you'd support a required national service program, authorized and approved by our government?

The terms are simple: on your 18th birthday, you're sent a "greetings" letter from Uncle Sam, asking you to sign up for the two-year national service program. But why do we need a national cooperative?

The ordinary answers to the question of why establish a compulsory national service program range from: it gives the person a chance to mature in a positive way before entering college; it strengthens their moral and philanthropic senses; it gives them a chance to save for college; and all the other mundane answers we've heard before. We know being of service helps others, but I want to meander around the usual answers and focus on something that some Americans have forgotten, called bonding.

Bonding creates a psychological lift and the kind of bonding that takes place through this kind of giving is essential in a time when our aging parents and grandparents are suffering from loneliness and social isolation directly linked to poor health, depression and an increased risk of early death – and our seniors represent just one of the many components in our society.

There are some basic elements that go into bonding, and one of the keys is communication. Our young people would benefit from this. Respect is another integral part of bonding, along with empathy and trust rounding out the underpinnings of bonding.

But there's one more very important reason to get a national service program running again: it nurtures love. In the 4th century BC, Plato argued that love directs the bonds of human society. Beyond the simple attraction to human beauty, the love Plato is talking about is the infrastructure of bonding, that he says also occurs throughout the animal and plant kingdoms, as well as throughout the universe.

I believe that's invaluable knowledge to have at 20, as one enters college.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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