Cheerful giver: The true essence of giving

Gift

Giving genuinely should be an everyday affair.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • I heard in a sermon, sometime back, that you haven’t really given until you feel the pain of your giving.
  • Genuine giving entails offering something that will leave a yawning hole in your pocket and in your life.

Last weekend, a group of us visited a children’s home, and I had my children accompany me. They have never been to one, and they asked me what we were going to do there.

I explained that we would donate food, clothes and books and spend time with the children. My 11-year-old son told me if that was the case, he had some clothes that he too wanted to donate.

As I waited for him to get them, I was delighted that the lesson on giving I wanted them to learn through action was already germinating before it even began.

And then I saw the clothes. They were old ones that he never wore, some with their colours washed out, others too small for him. Obviously, my lesson on giving still had a long way to go. 

I told him that the true essence of giving was letting go of something that you value, something that you enjoy, something that you like to have, something like the jacket he was wearing, which happened to be his favourite. 

He nodded, but his beloved jacket remained firmly on. It was clear that I had a long way to go, and made a mental note to gradually and consistently drive the lesson home until it stuck.

I heard in a sermon, sometime back, that you haven’t really given until you feel the pain of your giving. That real and genuine giving entails offering something that will leave a yawning hole in your pocket and in your life. I had mixed feelings regarding that message, my argument being that if the person I give to feels the impact of my giving, then my giving counts, doesn’t it?

Always give cheerfully

Talking of giving, have you ever been offered help or assisted by someone who made you feel you were being a burden or that your need was an inconvenience to them? Someone who extended his hand to you yet grumbled at the same time, making it clear that he was unwillingly helping you, a situation that made you feel ashamed of asking for help but taking it all the same because you had no other option? 

There have been several in this journey called life, but one stands out, which happened many years ago while I was a secondary school student. I remember it like it happened yesterday, which tells me that it greatly wounded me because my nature does not allow me to bottle up negative emotions – when angered, my anger eats me up until I am unable to hold it in, and only get peace when I give the source of my anger a piece of my mind. 

After which I either forgive and forget or let go. It is an incident that I will probably write about one day, if I told it today, it would simply cause unnecessary strife. 

With this in mind, I promise myself to always be a cheerful giver, to never feel coerced to give, and to give with an open heart and not expect anything in return.

And why do many of us wait until this time of the year to give? Shouldn’t giving be an everyday affair? It could be contributing money to a worthwhile cause – a medical fundraiser, a school fees fundraiser, sponsoring a child through school, feeding a needy family – mind you, this is me asking myself this question, this is me challenging myself that as a new year approaches, I will change my giving pattern, that I will give more and give of myself more, including my skills and expertise.

What’s your giving pattern?

The writer is editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation. Email: [email protected] ke.nationmedia.com

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