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.
"It's Giving Tuesday! Will you participate?"