Thursday, February 24, 2011

Giving and Living in a World of Abundance: Give Away

My husband has been reminding me lately that we live in "a world of abundance".  It is his way of being thankful and counting his blessings.  It is his way of reminding me, as well as those around him, that we are blessed with more than enough to keep us going physically and nourish our souls.  

This has been a long week for my children.  Since January, we've had 8 snow days, and now we are nearing the end of a week off school for February vacation.  We live in a world of abundance of days off, too, it seems!  They feel left out, though, because there was no trip to Disney, no week at the slopes, no cruise to the islands, and no warm sunshine at a beach.  Their vacation consisted of a weekend with my family in Maine, dinners out at local eateries, birthday parites, and a trip to the aquarium.  I think it was fun, but they feel left out.

This post (scroll to Feb. 8th-can't get the link to go to that date!) from Cara got me thinking, though.  How can I help my children appreciate the abundance in their lives, without preaching about it and pointing out how important it is to be thankful for what we have, while making sure that others are well taken care of, too?  How can I help to instill empathy in their growing minds, and ensure that the next generation takes care of their brothers and sisters?  How do I teach giving as a way of life to my children?  

They see us give money to church and to other charities, and they donate used toys and clothes they have outgrown to children in need at a local shelter, they watch as we donate hours to our favorite outreach programs, but I fear that they still don't really "get it".  What would it be like to live without "the basics"- soap, paper towels, a tooth brush, or hot water?  

I'm considering a Charity Camp for April Vacation... living without something that we consider an every-day-convenience, and donating that thing (like a case of paper towels) to the local Women's shelter... would that help them understand?  I'd love to know your thoughts and suggestions.

In the mean time, join me in participating in Cara's challenge, and give a little of your abundance to someone in need.

Give Away:  I'll sweeten the pot and add a give-away of my own.  A Pojagi scarf, your choice of either purple or green...  Lucky You!  It pays to be generous!

Here are the rules:

1.  One chance to win:  Leave a comment which INCLUDES A WAY TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU with an idea to help make "GIVING" a way of life.
2. Two chances to win: Link back to my post (and tell me that you've done so in the comment) on your blog or website for another chance to win.
3.  Three chances to win:  Make a donation of any basic item...  soap, paper towels, toilet paper, tooth brushes, you get the picture to a local charity.  Come back to this post and leave another comment, and you'll be entered again.

We can make this a better world!

Winner will be announced on Friday, March 4.


Ruth Anne Olson said...

What a wonderful post, Vivika.

In this age of the impersonal way of keeping in touch through Facebook, texting, and emailing, my New Year's Resolution was to try to bring smiles to people who might need them. I am sending "snail mail" greetings, which include personal notes. In addition to the "things" I give to charitable causes, I am in this way giving a little of myself.

Leslie McNeil of MarveLes Art Studios said...

Vivika, I am with you, in trying to impart generosity and empathy to one's family; especially our young children/adults. The problem with feeling 'left out' is that we are judging our happiness by what the world says it should be...from commercials to the family across the street... Living by worldly standards is bound to be a disappointment... sooner, rather than later. What we 'get to' do, is not only by giving, but by thinking more highly of OTHERS than we do ourSELF. When we get our eyes off of the "I" in and of ourself... putting others first; think in terms of "we" instead of "me" and take it from "me to them" - we can make a very real, and very lasting...difference, I believe. No sermon intended...

Mrs Moen said...

What a great post, Vivika!
I always hoped that my child would learn to be kind to others simply by growing up in a caring environment, and thankfully it worked. When they feel good about doing something for someone else instead of being a chore, you know they got it.
I do belive in small everyday things, like helping someone at the store, or smiling and talking to people. Ï believe in treating elderly like I want my parents to be treated, young women like I want my daughter to be treated and children like I would like my grandson to be treated.
Today I dropped off lots of hand knitted hats and blankets at the premature ward at the hospital. I know they will be appreciated by the parents in a stressful situation, and it makes me feel good to knit something useful. Win win.

Kate said...

Great post, Vivika! So true, also. As parents we often set impossible standards for ourselves. We work hard to provide everything our kids need and more - but we want to teach them to be generous and compassionate to those less fortunate. How would they know what it's like to suffer or go hungry? We would do anything prevent them from suffering!

My son is turning 15 next week. He said he doesn't want any gifts since he has everything... except free time. All he wants for his birthday to spend the day with a couple buddies at paint ball, have them come for dinner and then sleep over.

It reminded me that all the material things we give our kids will sometimes be taken for granted, but they really want the same things we do - more time to spend with friends and loved ones.

We're letting our son pick a charity and then asking his friends (or their parents) to donate whatever money they would have spent on a gift.

The paint balls and pizza are on us. :-)

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