Northwind Pharmaceuticals

Generosity is Good for the Soul

Generosity is Good for the SoulAs the holidays begin earlier and earlier every year, it seems like the idea of generosity has faded from many of our minds. It’s not that we don’t want to be generous or that we are somehow stingier these days, but that we are generally so busy with checking off our lists, ensuring we’ve fulfilled all our obligatory gift-giving and such that we don’t take time to think with our hearts rather than our wallets.

The Evil Gift Card

This idea really hit home when I realized a couple years ago that our family Christmases had become way too politically correct when it came to gift-giving.  As we sat around the great room together, kids eager to pounce on boxes and ribbons and unopened bags, I realized (with not a little gloominess) that none of those bright, shiny boxes were for us adults. Instead, a somewhat sloppy pile of thick, equally bright envelopes sat sliding down an end table. And I knew was were the contents of those embellished cardstock notes–gift cards.

Watching a pair of nieces bounce around the room, I realized that some of the joy of the holidays had been over-sanitized. We were so focused on getting gifts for each other and ensuring that no one needed to return something and that everyone would be happy with the outcome, that we had all of us, literally, every one of us, purchased gift cards for each other.

It’s not that gift cards are evil, but the joy of generosity was sucked from the room in that moment. And more. It made me realize that we were too focused on getting a gift that would please another person, rather than choosing something from the generosity of our heart. Something that might have cost less or more, something that would have certainly meant more, something that would have rung valuable year-long.

The Gift of Generosity: Conversation….Community

And the one realization that hit me was how important it was to maintain conversation with these relatives of mine. Part of the problem clearly was that none of us made it a strong priority to get to know each other or to be generous in conversation. Had we done that, we’d have jumped to get a trinket here, a box of something else there, and not gone for the cop out version.

The more high tech we get, the more connected with our devices we get, I think the less we involve ourselves in community—but we need community, we need conversation and we need to experience both the giving and getting of generosity.

How do you plan to give this year?

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