A lesson on sharing

My 5-year-old showed me the power of giving

A father often took his five-year-old son to their local, minor league hockey games. Each time they went, they saw the same homeless man in the parking lot asking for a handout.

The first time, the son asked his dad why the man was asking for money. His father took the opportunity to explain homelessness. The second time, the son asked why everyone doesn’t give the homeless man some money, which gave the dad a chance to share a lesson on charities and generosity.

On the third trip to the rink, the young boy approached the homeless man, who they now knew by name and often engaged in brief, casual conversation. The boy reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a small sandwich bag of coins, and with a big smile, offered the bag to the homeless man who smiled back appreciatively. At this simple yet profound act of generosity, the dad could only smile as he fought back tears.

This young boy understood abundance. He realized that he had more than others, and he had a desire to share. Abundance isn’t about wealth or excess or affluence. Abundance starts with gratitude. When you’re grateful for what you have, whether a little or a lot, you want to share it with others.

Living generously is good for us

There is actually much evidence out there to support the fact that living generously is good for us! The book, The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose, is the result of a 5-year social-scientific study of financial giving done in the United States. The authors conclude that: “Generous financial givers are happier people.”

The research also suggests that, “while money cannot buy happiness, giving it away actually associates with greater happiness.” In the story above, the young boy, the father, and the homeless man, were all impacted favourably by this simple act of generosity.

The authors of Paradox of Generosity go on to write:

“This win/win outcome of generosity also holds true for other kinds of well-being, such as health, avoidance of depression, purpose in life, and personal growth.”

In contrast, when we don’t live generously and strive to protect ourselves against future uncertainties and misfortunes, “we are affected in ways that make us more anxious about uncertainties and vulnerable to future misfortunes.” If this is true, why wouldn’t we all want to give?

Better health and happiness are simply the side effects of generosity. At Abundance Canada, we work with some of the most generous people in Canada. For them living generously is not about the size of their wallet; it’s about the depth of their heart. They don’t give because they can — they give because they want to. They are passionate about the charities they choose to support and they eagerly seek out ways to express their generosity.

Abundance Canada offers a variety of services to help people live generously. We can help you discover ways to give generously that you haven’t yet imagined, both now and later in life. Our consultants will listen to your story, identify your charitable goals, and develop a plan to help you experience faithful, joyful giving.

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About the author

For over 40 years, Abundance Canada has been helping people be generous. We are committed to helping individuals and congregations grow in being good stewards of all that God has entrusted to them. Our gift planning consultants are available to lead seminars, teach, and do personal consultations for wills, estate and charitable gift planning.