Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blue skies are a memory

It is a difficult time for many of us financially and because of that I hear people say that they are unable to give money as suggested by The Giving Principle. Furthermore, we hear some say that they are unable to give of their time, often for the same reason; their time is spent trying to make ends meet in this troubled economy. Finally, they claim that they have seemingly limited talent that would benefit others.

To these claims we say that treasure (money) is not the only gift you can pass on. It is quit understandable in these times that many of us do not have extra money to pass on. Furthermore, we all possess some type of talent. One does not need to be able to rebuild a big block Chevy engine or be a concert pianist in order to have talent, let alone pass it on. Lastly, the time that you give does not necessarily need to be a huge sacrifice. Actually, in many cases it should not be. We do not necessarily advocate giving up your entire Saturday in order to give your time (although that is certainly appreciated). The fact is that if we all gave up our one day off a week, many of us would not or could not sustain the giving lifestyle for long. The Giving Principle advocates passing on to others in three areas; your time, your talent and/or your treasure. It does not have to be all three and it does not require a great sacrifice.

Let us give you an example:

This week a massive winter storm is impacting nearly the entire United States. Freezing temperatures, snow and rain are wreaking havoc across the country, blue skies are mostly a memory. During this storm I found myself at the gas station. As I was fueling my vehicle, a car pulled up to the gas pump next to me. The driver exited the vehicle and made their way around the gas pump. It was clear that this person was ill equipped for the howling, sub zero wind chill that had befallen us. Furthermore, I could see two young children in the rear seat crying as their mother left them. Thinking that this was an opportunity to pass on the kindness, I walked over to the young mother and offered to pump her gas for her, allowing her to retreat to the relative warmth of her car.

Did I give of my time, talent or treasure? Well I did not give of my treasure (see the introductory sentence), and although I consider myself quite adept at the art of pumping gas, I really was not giving of my talent either. I did however give two minutes of my time and this two minutes, I believe was greatly appreciated. It really did not impact my day or my schedule but it made a big impact on that young mother who in turn, with The Giving Principle card is likely to pass on her kindness.