It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it
will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what
they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving.-Ohiyesa, Santee Sioux
I often wish that I were a more generous person. In many ways, I’m quite selfish, though it’s not necessarily something that I do on a conscious level. As an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, I have the constant subconscious fear that I’m going to lose all that I have at any moment, and my tendency is to try to hold on to things. Add to that the fact that I grew up in a military family and we moved constantly, my childhood was full of loss, over and over–the loss of friends, of home, of stability, etc.
I don’t resent these facts, and I don’t dwell on them. I mention them only because they help to explain my lack of generosity, the unwillingness I feel sometimes to give things to others. It’s something that’s very hard for me, but something that I work at constantly. Usually, I fear that if I give something away, I’ll end up needing it sometime soon, and I won’t have it. Or ironically enough, I fear that someone else will need it, and I won’t be able to give it to the next person who needs it.
But the fact is that almost nothing is irreplaceable, and there are very few things in life that I truly need to hold on to. I am getting better at seeing this fact and giving things away, but I still wish that I had learned the beauty of giving while I was still a child, for then I think it would be a much more natural part of myself, and many more people would benefit from the fact that I was willing to give more of myself and more of my things.
Questions to ponder:
1. Could you give away that which you most prize?
2. If we give away something that we cherish deeply, what’s the effect of that act on the person we give it to?
3. How often do we not give because we don’t feel the potential recipient would appreciate it enough? What effect does putting such conditions on giving have on us?