Jan 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm #1284122
I prefer helping people when I can see the results. For example, helping a new gardener build planter boxes makes me feel good.
I don't get as much pleasure from helping people when I don't see the results. For example, donating tents to a group and not knowing if/how they were used.
How does this compare to your helping/giving experience?Jan 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm #1824536
I agree that it is nice to see the fruits of your help. I have enjoyed helping people with construction and landscaping/gardening. This is kind of an ongoing pay it forward situation. My wife and I had hundreds of hours of help building our first house. So many people when thanked said no big deal because they had similar help. So I committed to always helping others when I could and it will probably take me my whole life to give as much as I have recieved.Jan 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm #1824537
@cvcassLocale: State of Jefferson
I agree that seeing the end result is gratifying. If I loan gear to a friend and they express pleasure in using that piece of gear I usually end up giving it to them anyway.
I also enjoy seeing them use that gear regularly or talk it up to other people. On the other hand if I give something away and I see it for sale shortly afterwards it usually peeves me.Jan 14, 2012 at 12:16 am #1824583
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
"How does this compare to your helping/giving experience?"
I took a big gamble once, and it's paying off BIG TIME!! Can I brag? :)
On one of my travels back in 2000, I met a high school kid — a very smart kid with a very dim future in the corrupt and dysfunctional country that is Uzbekistan. We kept in touch for a year after my trip, and long story short, I couldn't stand watching him fade into a future of hardship, poverty, and oblivion — and so I paid for his college education — figuring that would at least give him a bit more leverage in the semi-nonexistent job market in his country. The kid excelled, and graduated from college (as expected), then worked and paid his own way for his Masters degree, then got a FULL SCHOLARSHIP AT CAMBRIDGE — and is now pursuing his doctorate in Molecular Biology (or something to that effect)!
My 'son' — getting his doctorate at Cambridge! How cool is that? I got 'rewarded' beyond my wildest dreams! :)Jan 14, 2012 at 3:49 am #1824590
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
The ability to make that big a difference in someone's life is very very cool, Ben.Jan 14, 2012 at 8:29 am #1824629
Wow, Ben, very cool. You've not only made a difference in one person's life, but his ability to contribute to others in immeasurable ways means you've touched many, many lives through your wonderful generosity to him. Very, very good on ya, mate.Jan 14, 2012 at 8:31 am #1824630
Just hearing your story makes me feel good.
DarylJan 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm #1824760
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
I know I am bragging… but being single and thus without any children of my own, this is as close as I'll ever get in experiencing the joy of helping a child into productive adulthood. I was giddy for weeks when I got his email about going off to Cambridge! :)Jan 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm #1824779
– -K.T.- –Participant
Fantastic Ben!Jan 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm #1824831
@thefatboyLocale: St. Louis
I, too, prefer to see the outcome of my giving. Most of my surplus gear finds its way to local youth that I am involved in teaching, so I get to see the gear actually put to use. I also prefer to give time over money/goods, simply because that's what I have.
That said, some times I will give something to a total stranger, understanding that I will never know whether or not it makes any difference to them. I just get to hope it does.
Ever have someone pay your bridge toll before? I haven't, but the car behind me usually has. I bet that can change a bad commute.Jan 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm #1825871
I don't know, Daryl. When it comes to giving, it's a little bit funny, this feeling inside. I'd say it's not one of those you can easily hide. As for me, i don't have much money, but, boy, if I did, I think I'd buy a big cuben Trailstar where we all could live! Wouldn't that be cool! And, if I was a sculptor …. eh, then again, no …… I know, how about a backpacker who makes potions in a traveling NOLS show! That'd be cool! I mean, I know it's not much, but it's the best I can do. So, Daryl, my gift is this post, and this one's for you…..
And you can tell everybody that this is your post! It might be quite simple but, it's better than dry toast. And, uh, I hope you don't mind, yeah I hope you don't mind, that I put down into words, how wonderful these forums are when you're in the world! But, you know, not in a funny way or anything. Musical interlude time!Jan 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm #1826047
Thanks for the post.
I'm laughing and feeling good from reading it.
DarylJan 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm #1826064
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Personally, I don't buy into sin as being what some old white guy in Rome, an Iman in the Middle East, or a Medicine Man in the rain forest says is forbidden. I think it is bad to limit another's choices.
Conversely, I think it is Good Work to increase someone else's choices.
Ben, you increased someone else's choices. In a big way. Good on you.
One of my "good works", I think:
My kids' elementary school had three kids who weren't being challanged so I went in 4 days a week for 75 minutes a day to teach a math class for those three. They'd probably all have done okay, but I think I made math more fun and I'm sure I made it more challanging for them that year.
But I'm more pleased about coaching a 4-5-6 math team.
One kid (son of an engineer and landscape architect – no long term worries there) thought he should be team captain. I staged a few practice tests and he realized that even though he knew more math, he didn't listen to his team mates and keep them on track as well as the working-class girl. His other lesson was that they DIDN'T do well the first time they competed with almost no prep. But working at it over the next year, just one afternoon a week, and they whomped on everyone the next year. He'd never worked at school work before and he'd never seen the results of applying himself to academics before.
The working-class girl? Who at age 11 was supervising two younger sibs while Mom worked? She was team captain on a math team that beat every other team within 160 miles for two years in a row. And she's now got a MD and a PE who are happy to write letters of recommendation for her.
The next year, the son of a paramedic and a cop was the smartest student in his year. I was able to pull him aside (and a month later later, his mother) and tell them that he could do WHATEVER he wanted with his life. Sure, he could join the military like everyone in his family did, but he could also get a scholarship, go to grad school, be a scientist, whatever he wanted. And I think they heard that. His team came in first within an area larger than England and posted the highest score ever in the history of the competition.Jan 18, 2012 at 5:35 am #1826111
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
A few years back an international backpacker from France was visiting the city I was living in at the time. While she was having a tour of a local 150 year old church that was modeled after some church in Europe she left her backpack on one of the pews. It was stolen.
It was really nice to hear from her and know that the tent we gave her was used. I was very surprised to see it in the paper a few mornings later. It was a little difficult to get it to her because when we finally reached someone to donate it, she was on a train to Montreal. Coincidence would have it that Bryan was heading there for work and he was able to leave it at the desk of his hotel for her to pick up… it all worked out.
She left with a better sense of what Canadians are really like, I hope.
And it felt really good to help her. International backpacking is something that has always been of interest to us. We have friends who spent 13 months trekking around the globe and hearing their stories about the kindness that was shown them was inspiring. We didn't do this for the name in the paper or any recognition… we had a Mountain Hardwear tent that was sitting in the closet and she had a need. After having our house burn down 5 years before, her story struck a cord in me, because essentially her backpack and its contents were everything she had with her – her moveable home.Jan 19, 2012 at 10:04 am #1826685
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
I also enjoy giving away stuff to people and seeing the end result is gratifying. I learned this gift of giving from my father be it labor, old stuff I did not want to pass down to some one who could use it.
He learned this trait from his Dad who owned a used car and repair shop during the great depression. He would give away labor so people could go to work. Some did not want charity would give items like jewelry or chickens to him to hold on to till they got back on their feet.
When I was going trough optometry tech school we would go to Tecate,Mexico to give eye exams and give away glasses. We had optometrist and even ophthalmologist doing cataract and other surgeries.
My job was pre testing and fitting used glasses.
I remember one 13 year old girl that came in she was minus 18 in one eye and minus 20 plus in the other eye quite a bit of astigmatism in both eye, her family thought she was stupid she never was enrolled in school. I made a custom pair of Spectacles for her for next month when we went to Tecate she showed up with the family I fitted the Spectacles on her. She smiled a big grin it was the first time she was able to see her family faces and after that they enrolled her in school. I knew then I picked the right job to retrain in to because I was helping give the gift of sight.
I used to give away a lot of free skateboard equipment,shoes to kids that I was not using and when I became factory team rider and I turned pro I increased the giving.
I even Started a Freestyle Board company called FU skatez aka:"Freestyle Underground Skateboard that made Zero money after the manufactures killed freestyle skateboarding.
I picked team riders who never had a chance of getting on factory teams who were good and just loved the sport of freestyle skateboarding. I was able to get them all on Vans shoes flow list, Kryptonics wheels my main sponsor,Tracker trucks donated equipment to my project. Sean Sheffy a pro street rider called my company a charity skateboard company.
I spent about $8000.00 of my money on the project. But the end results it produced was unbelievable for my 6 team riders, and other people I would give equipment to. I was able to witness the results.
Back 80's a lot of the Pro skateboarders would give away old equipment to skateboards to others that did not have very much money, We took care of each other.
So giving stuff away and helping to the less fortunate gets 100+ point IMHO!! If I can see the end result.
TerryJan 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm #1826756
I'm realizing that the rewards of giving go beyond the recipient and the giver. Hearing the stories that you are sharing feels great and makes me want to give more!
So my guidelines for giving have expanded to:
(2) Enjoy the results of my giving.
(3) Tell others what happened.
The third item (telling others) might seem a bit selfish or like bragging. Even so, I think the benefits are worth it. I get the pleasure of sharing and others might feel good and may give as a result of hearing my story.Jan 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm #1826770
Author Charles Eisenstein ("Sacred Economics") has written eloquently on the rewards of gifts, pointing out that the "market economy" is a temporary detour from our true nature.
"Community is woven from gifts. Unlike today's market system, whose built-in scarcity compels competition in which more for me is less for you, in a gift economy the opposite holds. Because people in gift culture pass on their surplus rather than accumulating it, your good fortune is my good fortune: more for you is more for me. Wealth circulates, gravitating toward the greatest need. In a gift community, people know that their gifts will eventually come back to them, albeit often in a new form. Such a community might be called a "circle of the gift."
"Fortunately, the monetization of life has reached its peak in our time, and is beginning a long and permanent receding (of which economic "recession" is an aspect). Both out of desire and necessity, we are poised at a critical moment of opportunity to reclaim gift culture, and therefore to build true community. The reclamation is part of a larger shift of human consciousness, a larger reunion with nature, earth, each other, and lost parts of ourselves. Our alienation from gift culture is an aberration and our independence an illusion." (Dec. 27, Yes! Magazine)Jan 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm #1826791
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
So…. speaking of gifts (and that you all are in the spirit of giving). In April I am running a race for charity. This race is a gift for me as it was the motivation to start running 4 to 5 times a week. It is also a gift in that I will be raising money to help find a cure for diabetes. The money goes to the JDRF and the race is sponsored by Ford.
I know that this is pretty forward of me… but would anyone mind if I posted a donations link when it is available (about 3 weeks from now)? I'll be sure to post my race results and some photos of me hopefully upright and smiling at the finish line.
The race is the Ford Race to End Diabetes in Oakville, Ontario Canada on April 28th, 2012.
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