in which I write about quilts, dreams, everyday life, and almost nothing about giraffes
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
The Season of Giving
One thing I love about the Christmas season is that compassion comes to the forefront. People are generous and helpful at this time of year. That warms my heart.
I must admit, I get discouraged, too. I don't know what is in me, but I feel so strongly that people should help each other (not just at Christmas, but always); I usually jump at the chance when I learn about opportunities to give and help. I get discouraged when others don't respond in the same way.
At work, for example, for the last several years I have been the coordinator in charge of the community giving campaign. To me it seems like a no-brainer: give a few dollars from each paycheck. It won't even be missed! And it is so helpful, and a good idea to have a large group of people pitch in a little so it will equal a lot. Out of about 70+ people, only 3 people donated this year. I find that very discouraging. I have seen them drop dollars for a drink and snacks after work without any hesitation. Why not a couple dollars per paycheck to help the neighborhood?
Maybe I'm too much of a Pollyanna. I know some people give a lot and are already stretched thin. But I believe that most people can give more and not even feel a pinch of hurt.
People ARE generous at this time of year, and I love that. I want to be less discouraged and judgmental when they are not as generous as I think is possible. But also, I would like people to think more about giving and helping more. We are so rich and blessed in this country, and so many others need our help. Why don't more people feel the tug to respond?
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I agree, Carol, it is discouraging to see people not helping others. More and more I believe in a "giving personality" and that the urge to give is in each of us (think about young children who always want to help), and is either fostered throughout life by your environment or sparked by a circumstance. My wish is that people notice something in life that has touched them in some way, and work to support those issues - whether it's to girls in Afghanistan or gifts for military members, or giving to a local zoo because your kids love it or to the hospice service that cared for your parent. The choices are endless. For some I think it's easy to get "paralyzed" by so many asks for support that some people just tune all of them out rather than listening to their own heart and giving to the one or two that matter most to them. And realize that it's OK to give to what you really care about, even if it's different than what your neighbor cares about.
One thing to keep in mind is that some people may be giving to other organizations. I get frustrated at being asked all the time... so I think we should give when we can...and not worry about what others are doing...
I get frustrated too, when people don't give to a cause that's important to me... But often when I talk to them - it turns out they're already giving to something that's important to them! We have to realize that we all give to different things, at different times, and in different ways. Sometimes it's really hard for me to give money - so I donate time... I know I have to be careful not to judge others and what I perceive as a lack of giving - oftentimes, it turns out, they're secretly the most generous people I know (I just didn't know it!).
B: I realize people give in other places and ways and tried to acknowledge that in my post. What bothers me is the huge inequities. I guess I'm feeling globally discouraged. There are ways to solve the poverty problems on earth. There are ways to keep girls out of trafficking and prostitution. There are ways to make sure everyone has clean drinking water. When I think about this globally, and the problems just seem so long-lasting and insurmountable, it is VERY discouraging, so I DO worry about it. If people can't even band together to help in the local community, how can we hope to tackle the bigger problems? I know I am unaware of where and how people give, and I know I can't and shouldn't be judgmental of what I may correctly or incorrectly perceive... for some reason today I'm feeling discouraged on a wide scale, and the breaking point for me was discovering that only 3 out of over 70 people donated to our community campaign. To me that is a very sad number.
We can make a difference on a personal level, and sometimes that comforts me, and I feel that I'm helping as I can. Sometimes, though, the enormity weighs me down, and I feel discouraged. If we all were helping as much as we can and should, the problems would not be as enormous as they are.
Carol I agree... don't get me wrong...I think it makes me sad when I can't give money and people expect me too...I try to volunteer when I can too...
I suspect many people do not give out of fear - fear of job loss, fear of the loss of health insurance benefits, fear of serious illness, and/or fear of "fill in the blank."
Then there are the twin issues of "me first" and "selfishness" that cross all economic and cultural boundaries. Sad but true.
I give and will continue to do what I can. Could I do more? Maybe, depending on the timing and other factors. But I am definitely doing something.
No good answers to the larger problem ...
I agree with you about giving. What really burns me up is that some expect to be given to. My DIL is in charge of the Angel tree at her school and she has parents calling since October wanting to know what their kids are going to get. She reorganized it this year and is giving more useful items.
I guess I just do what I can...I believe that you CAN fight poverty or injustice or most any problem one child or one person at a time. I've raised my kids to know that we are not here to please ourselves, we are here to offer our talents, our gifts, our time, money, home etc to those less fortunate. When I get down or discouraged I count my blessings...I mean I really do...I name them out loud. And then I find I have more to give.
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