Tuesday, December 1, 2015

On Giving

It seems that the world has harnessed social media to create a “day of giving”. Admittedly, this is better than the “Gimme” days, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I like the idea of giving rather than getting. However, a “special” day for this purpose concerns me.

Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I think that giving is meant to be a personal thing. It should always be done from the heart and with no ulterior motive. Giving should be fueled by an inner flame and fanned by an inner voice. That inner voice may be conscience, a guardian angel, God, or perhaps echoes of significant childhood elders. Call it whatever you feel comfortable with, but listen to it.

Too often, especially at certain times of year, we are guilted to “give” and inundated by organizations wanting us to donate money. However, there are so many. How does one choose who is “worthy”? How much of your donation actually goes to the ones who need that money? It is probably a good idea to look into the organization and understand how they operate before donating. Better yet, find someone that you can actually see, and can believe in what they are doing. This may be someone local, such as a food bank or animal rescue. There are many places in your own community that need help.

It is also a fact that many people in today's economic climate are not able to donate money. Yet, there is a guilt that is often felt when one cannot donate money as freely as others can. Somehow the message becomes that if you care, you donate money. Or, donating money makes you a better person than those who don't. None of this is true.

When finding an organization you can become familiar with, there are often “things” that are needed. Animal rescues sometimes need blankets, towels, or crates. Many appreciate pet food or toys. Shelters for people can usually use similar items, of course. These items vary, so it is always good to contact the organization to assess their needs.

The number one thing that we all have and can give in some personalized way is time. Maybe there is a neighbor who is alone and needs help with something. Perhaps there is a child who needs tutoring or an elderly neighbor who can't shovel snow. Maybe you know a single mom who needs a babysitter occasionally. There may be a stray cat or dog hanging around your home or work place who needs a meal.

There are always numerous silent opportunities to give. You could close a trash can as you pass by, to keep snow out. You could alert someone of a possible hazard to prevent an accident. You could take hot cocoa to a bell-ringer. If you think about it, you can always find ways to give even a moment of your time and to make someone's day better. 

Whether you give items, your physical self as a volunteer, or even the timeless gift of prayer, you are truly giving of yourself. This should never be limited to a day. There is the danger of donating on just one day and then excusing oneself for the other 364 days. I would rather think of people giving or doing for others 365 days. That is what we should all strive for if we are to ever become a caring and united world.

Maybe I am a rebel, but I don't like to follow trends or a social media that tells me what I should be doing. I choose to follow my heart and listen to that inner voice. I want to do good deeds under the radar and year-round, rather than in the spotlight on a mandated day.

I don't want credit for what I do, either. In fact, I would rather no one even know about it other than those that have to know, and God. I take to heart what the Bible says, "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” -Matthew 6:2

I believe that giving from my heart throughout the year is the right thing to do. Knowing that I can do little things to help make the world a better place is its own reward. So, give whatever and whenever you feel led to do so, but always give from the heart.  





Linked to:
The Prompt:
"It's Giving Tuesday! Will you participate?"

18 comments:

  1. What a wonderful loving truthful article. Oh, that the world had more.

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    1. Thank you, Gail. Great minds do think alike.

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  2. guys......tell yur mom her iz veree much rite.......tho we did send sum green paperz two a total lee awesum organization two day coz it waz day lee double :) ♥♥♥

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    1. Like I said, one should follow where their heart leads. I don't judge others for that. xo

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  3. A great article Annie. I think Mother Theresa 's got it right.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. Thank you, Julia. I think Mother Teresa definitely got it right. Bless her heart. She will be canonized in 2016. I am so thankful.

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  4. I love this post, you put into words exactly how I feel about today. It seems like everywhere I go shopping they ask for a donation and I feel bad, but I can't give to them all. I also try to be giving all the time and not just one day that I am told to. Same thing with holidays like Mother's Day, I am close to my Mom all year not just the one day :)

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  5. We totally, totally agree with you too.

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  6. This is a great post...I agree so much with what you wrote.

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  7. We only have a small amount to give, but will be giving time and energy. Most of it will be anonymous, and i will have so much fun, it will probably be more of a blessing to me than to those who are on the "receiving" end.

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  8. This is an excellent post and you've expressed a lot of important ideas about giving.

    Our employer uses subtle peer-pressure in their annual fund raiser for the local food bank. I may give a nominal amount, but refuse to donate just so some team can have bragging rights about having given the most. The food bank is actually a charity that my husband and I donate to every year, but we do it privately.

    I've struggled with the idea of knowing who is “worthy”, especially among people who have some sort of hardship and set up an online fund raiser. They all tug at the heartstrings and I'm sure many are sincere, but I also suspect many are not doing everything they can to help themselves. In the end, my head usually wins this debate, and I don't donate.

    For better or worse, I find that giving responsibly takes quite a bit of thought and effort. In the end, I feel that whatever I’ve donated has been given freely with the hope that good will come to those in need.

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  9. Amen my friend, Amen!!! I hope to bring awareness to all the ways that people can give to their community -- to instill in people the idea that we are all connected and need to raise one another up in whatever way(s) we can - ALWAYS. Meaning, not just one day, but in all things. I guess my hope with social media things such as this, is that once people do start to give of themselves, it will "catch!" They will see how amazing it is to be a blessing and a helper, and that it would spread like wild fire in our hearts. So that YES - it becomes our FIRST nature to do so, and not something we must be reminded.

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  10. Great post, Annie...I so love picking up those names of folks in need to buy for, who might really appreciate it. But as you say, there are many ways of giving that don't require money.

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  11. I absolutely stand with you on all these deeply felt thoughts!

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