“Give naught, get same. Give much, get same.” — Malcolm Forbes
With the holiday season in full swing, people are feeling the spirit of generosity. Giving, including gifts to loved ones, friends, neighbours, and to those less fortunate, abounds. Not only is this the most profitable time of year for retailers, but it is also the time when most charitable organizations receive the majority of their donations. This time of year spurs us to show our love, appreciation, gratitude, and fondness for others, as well as encouraging us to help those in need.
But why should our generosity only be shown during a few days out of the year? An ancient proverb states, “He who allows his day to pass by without practicing generosity and enjoying life’s pleasure is like a blacksmith’s bellows — he breathes but does not live.” Generosity towards others helps us truly enjoy the life with which we have been blessed.
However, generosity is more than just spending a little money on a loved one, or giving a few pounds to a favoured charity. In fact, meaningful generosity is often devoid of money. The martial arts instructor who is generous with his time to help students achieve their best, the friend who is generous with encouraging words to one who is down, and the plumber who donates labour to help repair a sink drain in an elderly person’s home are all examples of generosity that can have an immense impact on others.
These seemingly ordinary acts of generosity allow us to have an impact on future generations. Our example then becomes a model for others to follow. This is why John Quincy Adams once said, “The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of immortality.” Our generosity today will produce positive benefits now, and in the future.
As you celebrate the holidays with your friends and family, make a commitment to develop a generous attitude toward others every day of your life. Don’t limit your ability to truly enjoy life and to positively impact the lives of others — now and in the future — by saving your generosity for a few days in November and December of each year.