The Gift of Giving

If you are always giving you are not giving from a good place
This is an idea that I have never really put too much thought into.  This morning I opened up a note book that I had been taking notes in when I was going to lectures a few months ago.  Now I didn't write any more on this topic in my notes, this is all that the notebook has to say so I am sure that I wrote it down for a reason.

After sitting with this statement for a while I have begun to see that it is true.  I am not saying that every person who gives all the time will not be giving from a good place, but there are those who give as a part of a daily routine and it seems to lose its meaning. For example I know a girl who is always giving to others, she will drive people places and lends money to people like there is no tomorrow.  On the outside everyone may think that she is a great person.  But there are cases that if you look closely you begin to see that she is not really doing it from a good place, like if she offers someone a ride and they are not ready to go the second she wants to leave she glares at you and taps her foot like she is in a rush. There was even a time when an other friend asked to borrow something from her, she said yes but when she thought that no one was listening she complained to an other friend about this girl asking for so much from her. Clearly these intentions are more out of an attempt to be polite because her parents taught to act like this, but not out of her true deeper feelings.

On the flip side of this statement there also the counter example of "The Giving Tree." In Shel Silverstein's book the tree gives everything that she has to the little boy and enough is never enough. I'm sure there is much to be said on the receiving end of this situation, but the tree is clearly giving from a good place. She wants to boy to have everything in the world and to be happy that she ends up sacrificing her whole being to the boy but she is still happy.

This seems to be a really heavy topic when you think about it, perhaps a little too heavy for a children's book.  I think that we need to figure out our bearings and what the right balance is. It can be hard to say no sometimes, but you can't give everything all the time because then you lose yourself and the giving no longer comes from that genuinely good place. We have to be willing to take something for ourselves, but not be selfish and give but not be a push over and give everything.

For an interesting approach to looking at this book I recommend checking out Luc Reid's Blog.