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“Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.”
Barbara Bush

Is there a more outstanding quality displayed in any individual than selfless generosity to someone else in need?

I am always impressed by those who support others through their friendship, mentoring, financial aid, gift of presence, willingness to forgive, and outpouring of love. In just being with individuals like these I am inspired to live more passionately and generously. On those occasions we learn of a person who gives so much of his or her talents to others, we catch a glimpse of what real sacrifice, heroism, and success looks like. This kind of generosity is especially illuminating when its source is a child.

After finishing a presentation to a grade school last week, I remained in the gymnasium as awards were given to students who excelled in academics and in athletics. After all awards had been passed out, the principal said she had one more student she wanted to recognize. She asked a little boy from the second grade to please stand up.

The principal explained that the school had just completed a mission fundraiser in which the students gave money to those from other countries living in poverty. Many of the students participated and the fundraiser was a success, but this little boy showed such exceptional generosity that she wanted to share his story.

The principal continued, saying that since the beginning of the school year the little boy had chores to do around the house, everyday, for which he received a small allowance. Each day he made his bed, helped with wash, set the table, and dried the dishes after dinner. He even helped with washing the car, vacuuming the rugs, and dusting the furniture. (Cinderella had nothing on this little guy!) This work took place over months; he saved every penny of his allowance and put it in his piggy bank.

After learning in school all the challenges the poor faced, he talked with his mother about the missions and his desire to help. The little boy felt it wasn’t fair he had so much and they so little. This little boy – seven-years-old – decided that the best thing he could do for the missions was to donate every cent of his year-long-savings to the missions. He gave all of the $81.32 he spent a year working for and saving.

The money, itself, may not have a dramatic effect on the plight of the poor, but the example of his generosity serves as a brilliant beacon challenging each of us to do more with all we have. As a thoughtful boss, a devoted employee, a loving mother, a wonderful friend, an occasional volunteer, or simply as a member of the community, we each have the opportunity and ability to give generously to others everyday.

When we serve others selflessly – with no strings attached – we receive one of the most profound insights in life: the realization that our own needs only dissipate when we focus first on the needs of others.

The choice is always ours.

John O’Leary, Rising-Above.com

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