It is the season on giving for most of us. And, in light of the "Helping the Divas" thread controversy, I wanted to fully explore giving and how you personally do it.
As a teenager, I was very "bah-humbug" about giving. "Why don't people help themselves?" I would always think. I felt charity & charitable organizations were handouts, and who accepts handouts???
I hated the Salvation Army Bell Ringers, the men pushing me to buy Poppies, and I really did not like the Jerry Lewis Telethon. What got me even more annoyed were the homeless people with signs asking for food or money on the corner. Nine times out of ten, the same corner they were on had a shop with a "help wanted" sign. I thought, "What is your deal, you are begging, so how can you be too proud to work???"
I have a very absent father, and he happened to come visit me in college once. We come from a small town, so being in a college town was something different for him, and I was nervous. We went out to lunch. We were not there more than 10 minutes and a homeless man came in and asked my dad for money!
I was so embarrassed. I thought my dad was going to let him have it. He was obviously a drunk (you could smell it...), I just didn't know what to do.
But my dad got a very, very sober look on his face -- something I had never seen before. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a $20 bill, gave it to him with a small smile, and the man left. Afterwards my dad said, "I know he will probably go buy booze, but if that is what he needs, that is fine." I was stunned, this was coming from me dad, who judges everyone! Then he said, "Ya know, after the divorce with your Mother, I was crushed. I drank and drank and drank... I had no where to live, I fell apart. That could have been me...."
So, that day my very absent dad, who taught me how not
to parent most of the time, taught me a great lesson in giving. I believe he gave for himself. He gave to feel good, regardless of how the gift would be used. He gave without judgment and expectations. He gave because he could see what it was like to be in someone elses shoes.
Can you imagine having the ability to really see what it would be like to be the person in need? That is pretty powerful stuff. Can you imagine giving without expectations? Without judgment? Can you imagine giving to purely give, and no other reason?
Regardless of our current income and expenses, we all need something. Some of us need love, some of us need health, some of us need friendship, some of us need person growth advice, and some of us need parenting help. We all need something. Sometimes we need a little extra money, and when we do, the universe provides it in ways we cannot even fathom.
I believe in giving without expectations and giving until you cannot give anymore. You always reap what you sow.
So, tell me your thoughts & experiences with giving.