This spirit of giving must be passed on to the next generation. Indeed, I have done so with my own children. When they were younger, our Christmas tree would be choked with gifts for them. One year, we decided they could select two gifts and the rest would be given to those of lesser means. At first, they wondered if this new approach to Christmas was a form of punishment. I am proud to say, however, that they quickly embraced our new tradition and I was pleasantly surprised by the joy they derived from sharing their good fortune with others.
We must give back in ways both large and small. It must be more than the reflex action of watching thousands suffer after the earthquake in Haiti or tsunami in Japan. Yes, it’s vital that we support such humanitarian efforts in the wake of unthinkable tragedies. But we can’t stop there. While money is important, time is equally valuable. Devote time to serving at a soup kitchen, teaching adults to read, or mentoring young people. Encourage your corporation to sponsor a worthwhile organization or philanthropic effort with sweat and muscle as well as dollars. If you contributed one hour each week, that’s just 52 hours out of the roughly 8,760 we’re all given each year. Within that time frame, you can do more than just help people. You can change lives.
I strongly believe we must all be grateful for the gifts bestowed upon us and share them to create a better world because, as another well-known quote states, There but for the grace of God, go I. Whether you earn an annual salary of $50,000 or $500,000, you can offer your time, skills, and resources to improve the lot of others. All it requires is commitment. Believe me, you will find it one of your most enriching, exhilarating experiences.