Tuesday, July 7, 2015

On Generosity

Last week, some friends were over and one of them slipped me an envelope. Inside was a kind note and a check to cover the cost of one of Monrovia's rechargeable cochlear implant batteries (or any of the extra costs that come along with having hearing loss.) It was so thoughtful, kind and touching. This isn't the first time these friends have shown generosity towards Matt and I. And we have many thoughtful people in our lives, but the times these friends have made an intentional and generous gesture to us it has stuck with me.

It isn't that they are wealthy (they aren't), and it isn't that they have cash to burn (they don't!) They have lots of expenses and they live in the Bay Area, one of the priciest places to live in the entire country.

Here is the thing their (and others') generosity has shown me:

  • It doesn't matter how much money you have. You can always share some of what you have with someone else. We live in such a culture of deficiency; we act as if there is never enough, no matter what our checking account says. 
  • Often the people in my life who have fewer resources are the ones who are more generous with what they have.
  • Generosity breeds generosity. Every time someone is generous with me, it makes more generous with others. It reminds me of how much those acts mean, and encourages me to be more open handed with what I have. 
  • If you make it a habit, generosity becomes a way of life. The more you give away, the more you want to do it! I'm not just talking about money, I'm talking about all sorts of resources: time, abilities, use of your belongings, etc...
  • I want my kids to be generous. So I need to be generous! Because that's where they learn it. As my kids get older, I know all of these activities vy for their attention and time, but we have to prioritize generous acts in that mix to ingrain that value into our children. 
This Sunday, our girls put on a lemonade stand in front of our house! We had read a lot about the string of black churches that have been burned down in the last month, and we wanted to do something to show care for these brothers and sisters of ours across the country. It's important for Matt and I to teach our girls that their "neighbor" isn't just the person who lives next door and who looks just like them. We also want to teach them to do what they can to work against acts of injustice and racism. We decided to donate all of the money they earned to a fund for those churches, to be divided equally between them. (You can find out more about the fund here)

The girls were little worker bees! Scrubbing our lemons:
Making signs:
Juicing lemons:

They sold lemonade for two hours, until our lemonade cups ran out! They raised $98.28 to give away! Most of all, they did something to benefit someone else.

I'd love to hear ways that you teach your own children about being generous? How do you model it for them? What are habits of generosity you've built into your own life? 

Talk to me, I'd love to learn more....

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