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Last week my daughter shared that one of her class topics was about charity. Not whether it was right or wrong but about the act of giving - was this a selfless act, or selfish? We started thinking about why we give. Do we take money from our pockets and put it in a strangers hand to make them feel better, or ourselves? Once you've given money to someone do you share this act in a conversation with family or friends? If so, is that to encourage them to give as well, or to show how generous you are? Is giving actually helping you receive?
Recently a video has gone viral of a man yelling at an older woman who's getting into a newer model car. This man is yelling that he has been giving her money for days while she stands on a street corner and now he discovers that she's driving a better car than his own. He goes on shouting that the money he gave her was his lunch money and that he has gone without so that he could help her. Now that he sees this nice car she's driving he will no longer be giving her his money that he is working so hard for. Curious.
I told my daughter about this video and her first response was being upset with the woman too. She felt sorry for the man who gave his money to this older woman. And to be honest, at first so did I. I remembered an investigative news story that showed some "pan handlers" and just how much money they made in a day and how they lived once the ragged, dirty clothes came off. But then, I started thinking about his action of giving the money. He gave it to her. There was no promise of what she would do with it. No hand-shake deal or signed contract. It was a gift. Over and done. What she does with that money is up to her.
He yelled that he worked hard for his money and went hungry the days he gave her his lunch money. Is that her fault? She asked, he gave. That's that. If he hadn't spotted her in a shiny automobile he would have gone on for days feeling pride in his good deed, I'm sure. But she got busted and he went ballistic.
What if he saw this woman in a nice, expensive restaurant enjoying a seven-course meal? Could he argue that he can't afford to eat at that restaurant so she shouldn't either?
A gift of money was given and what the recipient does with it is up to them and their conscience.
What are your thoughts?
(Now, if you want to help those that are down you can hand them some paper that will truly help them. See if your city has a division of The Homeless Alliance. They have vouchers providing information on shelters and a bus ticket to get people there. )