Being charitable is another word for having gratitude and compassion for others, specifically those in need. To be charitable to others, I believe you first must be gracious for your own life. Gracious people are happier, more sociable, less depressed and neurotic, and have higher levels of satisfaction within their own lives. If you express gratitude to the people around you, you are recognizing that they are a positive impact on your life. Many times, the people around us do not even realize how important they are in our lives. I have always wondered why we don’t stop more often and be grateful and recognize that the people that need you, you may also need them.
Having compassion is the concern and willingness to help someone who is suffering. Identifying with another person – identifying with their pain, is hard-wired in us as human beings. Everyone’s resources are different when it comes to giving back and paying it forward. Maybe you can donate clothes, money, furniture, toys, and maybe most importantly your time. However, a common phrase is, “Be aware of the naked man, who offers you his shirt.” You cannot give, what you do not have. You do not need all the answers to help someone. Just be yourself and take time to be with them. Your presence can be more powerful than you think.
At Discovery Days & Kids Connection Childcare, we are always thinking of ways to pay it forward to our communities. Over the course of 20+ years we have organized countless toy drives, school supplies drives, 5k fundraising walks for Alzheimer’s or Brain Cancer or Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Food drives, Fundraising car washes, sponsoring local youth sports teams, and countless other events. We relate with the idea that there is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
So, go ahead! Lift the world up around you and pay it forward! It could be big or small like holding a door open for a stranger. Just whatever you do, make a positive difference in the lives around you!