Giving without Receiving



Over the  years I have tried to instill in my children the lesson that giving does not always mean receiving in return. Perhaps in the past they were too young, or there wasn’t a strong enough reason or passion towards simply giving and not expecting anything back. However, I am proud to say my almost 10 year old daughter seems to finally grasp the lesson. Is it her age or the cause, I’m not sure, but I am just so happy it has finally sunk in….at least for this moment!

Jump Rope for Heart sponsored by the American Heart Association will be taking place during PE classes at my children’s school next week. I fondly remember the fun I had as an elementary student participating in this wonderful event. I love that it encourages heart healthy exercise and encourages the children to raise donations for the AHA. However, I was immediately disappointed that the AHA is trying to encourage the kids to raise funds by receiving small token gifts in return. I also realize that without this gesture they may not have as much luck in getting children to ask for donations. However, I also noticed that in tiny print underneath the student information on the sponsor form that you can check a box that states, “I want to give more, so please do not send gifts.”

Now the hard part… convincing my daughter she did not need these gifts, and instead could be doing something even better for the greater good by having more of her donations go to the actual organization. I thought this would be a hard sell, but we talked about the fact there were many people in her family that had heart conditions, and while they were fine, there were many people in this world that had to have surgery after surgery in order to correct it. Ryann immediately was on board! I was thrilled. I emailed her teacher as well, and informed her of the lesson we were trying to instill and to please not order any of the gifts for Ryann. Her teacher was not aware of the checkbox on the form, and told Ryann how proud she was of her for making that choice. It is always nice to have the teacher back you up, and I think it means a lot when it’s not just the parent teaching an important lesson.

I realize it’s hard for children to not think about what they are going to get in return for doing something or giving something. It’s hard for some adults as well. It  is important to realize that by giving, we are always receiving. It just may not be tangible, but rather a feeling. Studies show that giving is also good for your health. It can make you happy and decrease stress.

What ways do you discuss giving with your children, spouse, students, peers? What have you done to give without expecting anything in return? How did it make you feel?



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