This is the key. To love, to a good job, to financial success – if I was going to give advice to young people, (and as a teacher and a parent of teenagers and a friend to some as well, I often give advice, so I just might,) I’d say give more. When you take a job, find one where you can help others. When you have some money, give lots of it away, even if you can’t afford it. If you want to be close to someone, give compliments, time, friendliness. It works better than anything else in securing success, giving does.
I’ve been experimenting with this last year. I added a charity that I give to monthly and a once-twice a year volunteering gig. It’s not enough. It’s not the tithe I was planning for. However, as I go through my budget and try to decide whether new socks are a necessity or a luxury this year, I know that the Plan International donation will not be the item that gets cut. In fact, I might add to it – I still have a goal to tithe. I’m at 1-2% not, so it will take a while, but I can get there. What has it given me? A feeling of wealth. Rich people tithe, not poor ones! A sense of gratitude. I can give help instead of just needing it. Some pride.
It just feels good, you know? Giving feels better. There’s probably a biological aspect to it all. I know very little biology, but I suspect there’s a scientific aspect to it all as to why giving feels wonderful. It really doesn’t matter, though. I can enjoy that feeling without knowing why. It is why this job works. My previous job paid better – but it gave absolutely nothing to anyone. So, now I teach kids – and often, kids that need additional help. I think it’s a valid consideration when selecting a future career. Does the career give something to people, to the world, to society? If not, maybe it’s not the best career.
The trickiest area is around friendship, of course – because while it feels great to give, receiving is a lot harder. We bristle at gifts we never asked for, ideas that contradict our own and people whose needs take up time that could otherwise be usefully spent. Knowing what to give a friend – whether space or closeness, laughter or sympathy, a bracing speech or a helping hand – that can be quite the challenge. Success in this area will give me rewards too, however, rewards of closeness and love and joy.
So, I do giving things. I give computer help and resume writing assistance. I give charity and tutor kids. And I do what I can to give my friends what they need to, as best as I possibly can.Giving feels like it’s on the right path – the one I want to take. I just have to keep learning to be discerning in how I do so.