A spirit of giving should be something that we embrace all year round, and shouldn’t be limited to the months of November and December. Here are my top 5 reasons to give back all year long:
1) Because there’s always someone in need. As residents of this planet, and members of the human race, we have an unspoken responsibility for one another. We also have an innate, God-given desire to love, be loved, protect ourselves, as well as others. Whatever your comfort level or situation, there’s always a way to give back, and help someone in need. You have the option of donating all types of goods (not just money) to non-profit organizations, or giving a little money to that single mom in your building or in your child’s school, and even giving back through your time. Which leads to my next item…
2) Because it is so rewarding! There’s no feeling like the feeling of knowing that you’re helping someone in need, making their life better, or simply taking time out to focus on the needs of someone outside of your family and inner circle. So, my suggestion? Volunteer! I have been a dedicated volunteer for Animal Care and Control of New York City for 2 years now, and it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life! I happen to love dogs (borderline-obsessed), so, this is a perfect scenario for me. However, if you’re thinking that you don’t have time to volunteer because of your already hectic schedule, or that with all of the stress of life, you don’t have much to give anyone, then I have news for you. You absolutely DO have something to give! You just have to get creative sometimes. So depending on your personal interests or free time, there are many options out there for you. You can volunteer for a non-profit once-a-week, or once-a-month, you can mentor a young person, or a new business-owner/entrepeneur, you can do a free, quarterly seminar in a local high school, college, or church, on a topic that you are knowledgable about that may be helpful to others. The possibilities are endless!
3) Because making the world a better place starts with individuals each doing their part. It’s not enough for us to vote for politicians who we think will make a difference, or to sign a petition for a good cause, every so often, or even participate in a rally of sorts. These are all very important of course, but it’s also important for you to recognize that you alone can make a real difference in this world. From sending a friend a kind e-mail just reminding them that they’re doing a great job, and that you admire them, to taking out that really quiet kid from your church, that always seems a little sad, to lunch, to the park, or to a ball game. It’s always good to recognize the small gestures that we can do as individuals, that will help to make the world a better place.
4) Because giving is like a river which flows gracefully into an ocean of goodness that affects the masses. Okay, that was a little bit of a poetic stretch, but the point is, you get back what you give. Call it karma, reaping what you sow, energy, “The Secret”, or whatever you like. But, I’ve found that people with a true, giving heart, that actively choose to make giving back a way of life, find that they always manage to have their needs met, sometimes in surprising and miraculous ways, and find that good always comes back to them, even in the midst of adversity.
5) Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a little sad that giving back has become something optional for so many people, as opposed to a way of life. This really needs to change. A spirit of giving combats greed, selfishness, and arrogance. So that’s another great reason to do it! If you’re a parent, your kids are watching. Don’t just tell them what is right, show them, through your life, and through your actions.
You may notice that I didn’t notate any specific organizations to volunteer for, or donate to. No, that would be too easy! I would love it if you would take the time out right now, to look within yourself, and see what unique and special way that you can give back. Don’t just look at a site with tons of non-profit organizations, or a volunteer options checklist. Think about what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing, and the qualities that you already embody that are special, and then find something that fits for your personality and lifestyle. Please let me know what you find out. Once you start giving back, you’ll never stop!
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