When we hear the word generosity, our minds may jump to philanthropy—making a donation to charity or volunteering our time to a worthy cause. Certainly those are components of generosity, but they spring from having a generous spirit, a character trait we can all display no matter how much money we have in the bank or how busy we are.
Holding the door open for someone, letting the person with only a few items go ahead in the checkout line, or making coffee for the office are all tiny acts, things that can easily be overlooked in the course of a day. But when we choose to give of ourselves, whether the gesture is small or more extensive, being generous allows us to spread joyfulness to to those around us.
For children, generosity is easier explained as sharing. Think what a peaceful place the world would be if we all practiced the art of sharing.
Pelicans are fascinating birds that are adept at fishing. Brown pelicans can spot a fish swimming under the water’s surface from more than 70 feet in the air. The pelicans then dive headfirst into the water. They use their large bill pouch to scoop up the fish like a net. When they bob back to the surface they tip their head forward to drain out the water. As parents, pelicans display generosity by letting their young eat fish and regurgitated food from their beak.
- Take time this month to be generous as a family and reach out to others less fortunate. The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma supplies 500 charities throughout Oklahoma. Last year, the organization distributed 25 million pounds of food, enough to feed 63,600 Oklahomans every week. The Regional Food Bank is always accepting donations of non-perishable food and hygiene items and also offers volunteer opportunities for sorting and packaging donated items. For more information, visit their website at RegionalFoodBank.org or call 405-972-1111.
- During dinner, discuss ways your family can be generous. Look for unique and helpful ways each person could share his or her individual gifts and talents. Remember that it is often the small, but unexpected acts of generosity that touch us the most.
- Read about generosity. Children and their parents will enjoy The Quiltmaker’s Gift and The Quiltmaker’s Journey, both written by Jeff Brumbeau and illustrated by Gail De Marcken. The marvelously illustrated books use a fanciful setting to explore generosity, community and quilting. The richly woven tales are geared for a third or fourth grade reading level, but younger children will enjoy having it read aloud.
For adults, check out Live Generously: 50 Small Acts that Make a Big Difference, edited by Julie Van Pelt. The book offers a wealth of ideas aimed at giving back.
I Will Statements:
- I will share what I have with others.
- I will give of my time and talents.
- I will recycle.
- I will not expect anything in return for my generosity.
- I will praise the good I see in others.