Thursday, May 1, 2014
Give Freely To Others
Webster's Unabridged Dictionary says Benevolence is: "The disposition to do good; good will; charitableness; love of mankind, accompanied with a desire to promote their happiness.
I know too often, in these days, we as humans are out to promote our own will. Unfortunately sometimes that means we step over others, don't care for what others are feeling, say things that make others look bad--just so we can get ahead.
Many years ago I started implementing an idea in my life. "Give freely to others." For the last ten years I have lived my mantra, "You get as you give!"
GIVE FREELY TO OTHERS:
If you focus your attention to helping others, without the expectation of return, it naturally comes back to you.
What does, "Give freely to others," look like?
There are three ways you can give to others: MONEY, KNOWLEDGE and HELP.
You can follow the old adage here, "give 10% of what you earn." If you don't believe in doing this then give $10 here, or $50 there. You may buy Girl Scout Cookies, candy bars, cookie dough or donate to a charity like United Way, Cancer Foundation or some other worthy cause. If you are in a position to help others monetarily then do it. Economic times are tough, if you are not in a position to give money then give possessions. Some people donate their unused stuff to ARC, Good Will or the Salvation army. You may give an old clunker car to your church or civic organization. That all boils down to money, and helping others less fortunate.
Money is not the only way to help others. You can pass on your knowledge. Whether you know it or not, you can pass on something that will help another person in life.
The most profound thing I have ever done in my young, adult life was become a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. Twenty years ago I was a swimmer in High School and I decided I wanted to help others learn how to swim. In one semester I obtained my Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor's certificates and got a job at the local outdoor pool.
That summer I helped hundreds of children learn to float, hold their breath underwater, swim, and generally just not to be afraid of the water. But the most meaningful thing to me that summer were the two boys I helped in the water. These two boys had Downs Syndrome. At first they were terrified of being in the water. At the end of two weeks I had each of them floating on their backs, calmly, with their head on my shoulder. That moment was solidified inside my soul, I gave something to those two boys that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Five years later I was teaching swimming lessons at a local Gym, that had a pool and was offering swimming lessons for their clients. I started an adult class and had an 83 year old woman sign up. At first I did not know what to expect. I asked her, "Why do you want to swim?" She told me, "I have been afraid of water my whole life, and before I die I want to overcome my fear of the water. I want to swim!"
We spent the next month working on getting comfortable with the water. I taught her techniques on floating, breathing (blowing bubbles) and kicking. By the end of the month she was floating on her back, kicking, and moving her arms across the whole length of the pool. It was the greatest feeling in the world, helping this woman overcome her fear of the water. The great big hug I received from her was the reward!
It just goes to show you that people, no matter what the age or circumstance can receive knowledge from you. You just have to figure out what it is you have to give, and give it freely. (Yes, it was my job in those cases, however I decided to do it. It was my choice.)
The last way we show our benevolence is by helping out others. At times we can choose to help others, or not. Some people feel that if they do help, they need to get something in return. The key here is to help others without the expectation of return. The feeling you get for just helping out is greater then any reward you can actually receive.
I have spent the last fourteen years training sales people how to sell cars. I have trained over a hundred sales people, how to provide good customer service, discover their wants and needs, follow-up, and take care of their customers problems. I passed on my knowledge to better their abilities selling, whether they stay at our dealership or go somewhere else, or do something else. Working with them, I take on the attitude that my success is their success. If they end up doing something else, I hope I was able to give them something they can use for the rest of their lives.
A single act of helping someone can follow you for the rest of your life.
Last night I was lying in bed thinking of this. Twenty years ago, I was a lifeguard. I made three saves during a five year period. Each time, I made a choice to jump in and save the child. (Yeah, it was the job I signed up for. But, had I not been working there, the outcome might have been different--who knows.) Today, I can still picture each child's face. A little blond hair, brown eyed girl about three years old who jumped into the deep end of the kiddie pool. A boy about the same age who just slipped under the water when no one was looking, and a boy about five who's babysitter pushed him to the edge of the pool and turned to get another boy, he did not make it to the edge.
As I lay there in bed I thought to myself, "I wonder where these three are today? What are they doing? Where are they working-doing with their lives?" They would be about 23-24 years old now, maybe having a family of their own. Then, the same feeling entered my body as the day I jumped in and saved their lives. A rushing warmth of whiteness that was a mixture of happiness, joy, caring and love filled my soul. It was the best feeling I had experienced, EVER in my lifetime and it consumed me again.
It is amazing how a single act can change a life. Does that mean you have to save a life? NO. You can do the simplest things to help someone. Hold a door open. Carry a box for someone. Help a friend move. Help a co-worker fill out their paperwork. (Whatever it is, you might be able to help out.)
SO . . . GIVE TO OTHERS FREELY!
Give to the needy, or a charity!
Teach someone something!
-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements