A friend of mine asked on FB, the other day, how she could teach her kids about “giving.” They seemed to be going through an “I want everything!” phase, as she put it. So, she wondered how she might instill in them a desire and understanding of how important it is to give to others and the joy that comes from such giving. Her idea was to take them each to the store to buy gifts for each other, but wondered whether this would simply lead to more presents under the tree. This raised a very important question, which led me to conclude, after much thought, that the ways we often try to teach our children about “giving” have actually led, in part, to the current problems we, as a society, are facing.
What is “giving”? What does it truly mean to “give” to someone else?
To start…”Giving” involves sacrifice. It’s true that you can give something to someone else that doesn’t belong to you, but that doesn’t invoke the spirit of giving and, therefore, does not produce the joy that results from giving from your heart. In fact, giving something that doesn’t belong to you isn’t really “giving” at all…it’s stealing (even if it’s just the credit)! If you haven’t lost anything, what have you given?
When you sacrifice something in order to “give” to others, there is a natural, good feeling that you get from placing another person’s needs before your own desires. This is what’s meant by the phrase, “The joy of giving”…The joy that comes from being able to make someone else smile, from knowing that someone else’s day was made just a little bit brighter, because of you. Without this intrinsic reward, “giving” really just becomes a chore, something we do because we think we should. (more…)