This phrase, "It‘s better to give than to receive", (Actually, these words, "It is more blessed to give then to receive" are from the Bible -NIV…said by Jesus) is one of the parenting standard phrases from anyone‘s childhood. I think we all heard this growing up…especially around Christmas time and Birthday celebrations. Our parents wanted to instill this quality. They wanted us to be grateful for the gifts and blessings we had in our lives. They wanted us to feel good about giving to others in general and others less fortunate. Now, as an adult and a parent, I find myself trying to teach the same life lesson to my kids. I don‘t think this is an easy lesson for kids to learn, because they are very egocentric by nature.
When trying to model and teach a character trait, you need to first take a look at yourself. Are you a giving person? Do you demonstrate generosity to others so your children will see a great example? Do you help others? Do you pitch in with a good attitude? Are you compassionate? Or…are you stingy? Do you hoard your material possessions? Are you tight with your money? Do you dread buying gifts for others? Do you complain about contributing?
If you need to work on being a giving person, then your children probably do also.
You can become a good giver by taking baby steps. Allow the other driver to have the parking spot. Give of your time to help a neighbor, with a good attitude. Help in your child‘s classroom. Help your child with his/her homework, while putting your work to the side. Your kids are always watching you! By demonstrating this to your children, they will naturally want to model you! Helping someone, together as a family is really important. You all can make and deliver a meal to someone in need; someone who recently had a baby, or someone who is sick. You can serve at a soup kitchen together. The more you give, the more you reap the benefits of feeling good in helping others.
"The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving."
Albert Einstein 1879-1955, Physicist
This quote is so strong. Your value and character are shown in how you give, how you react to adversity, how your attitude is when you have the choice to either give or not give, how you react when someone needs something or a favor, how you rise to the occasion when you interact with someone in need. Everyone is capable of receiving. Now, whether they receive with grace and thankfulness is another story altogether and another topic for a different day.
When I was a teenager, my Dad gave me a copy of the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It is, to this day, one of my favorite books. It is a simple picture book…but its life lesson on Giving is tremendously beautiful! Please, do yourself a favor; add this book to your library. Read it often, read it to your children, give it to others as a gift, and practice what it teaches! (There is a link on the right side of my web site that will take you directly to the book on Amazon to purchase it!)
The ironic thing about giving is that it always comes back to you! Have you noticed that your friends and family members, who give with a great attitude, seem to receive so much? They seem to be "rich" in life…rich in their friendships, love, material things, fun, family, etc. It is true…what you give, you receive. However, that should not be your motivating factor in giving…as it will surely backfire on you. You must genuinely give with a happy heart in order to reap the benefits. It feels so great to give to someone and see the happiness as a result of your actions or words or acts of kindness! It is contagious, and it always comes full circle back to where it started!
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Our Challenge: This week and beyond, let‘s practice having a giving heart! Let‘s put other people‘s needs in front of our own. Let‘s Love and Give with a cheerful attitude. Let‘s take our focus off us and put it on others. Let‘s give our time, our compassion, our tenderness, our patience, our prayers, our love, our energy, our ear, our affection, our gratitude, our support, our smiles, our compliments, our material goods, and our happy spirit to others!
Give, Give, Give!