Think back to a few months ago.
Mistletoe was everywhere, and all you wanted to do was love people and feed the world.
The holiday season inspires us to be more giving and loving. Some of us even promise ourselves to be more like our holiday selves all year long.
And then, sometime shortly after our New Year’s resolutions are forgotten, our volunteer work, and charitable contributions are reduced as life takes over.
Maybe you still give, but do you do it in the same way as you did in December? Are you as moved? Are you as compelled to help the helpless?
Adam from Man vs. Debt posed the following question: “Do you give to Panhandlers” and the comments (all 215 of them) were really interesting. Here are a few examples:
- “In the US, I don’t give money to panhandlers. I just assume many of them are going to use it on drink and quite honestly, I don’t want to encourage more of them to hang out on street corners asking for money. Because I can’t assess their true “need” situation, I’m not comfortable giving them cash.”
- If I have something to give – I give. I believe I’ve been blessed to be a blessing to others.
- I am a very giving person but when it comes to pan handlers, I am not so giving. Not to say I don’t help any pan handlers, I just am very leery when they approach me. I feel most of the time they are lying about why they need the money. It just doesn’t fly with me. I also think many choose to live that way.
This mini-mission is not a question, or a command, but an invitation to give freely.
Let go of your need to decide who deserves what. That’s not your job, or responsibility. It feels good to give without judgment. Give your spare change to panhandlers, or a cup of coffee, or a meal. Keep snack packs and bottled water in your car to distribute when you have the opportunity. Make sandwiches and give them away to people in need at a park in your community.
Reasons people don’t give
- They feel uncomfortable
- They think the money will be used for drugs
- They think people should help themselves
- They think someone else will help
- They are strapped financially
- They think they are supporting homelessness
Instead of thinking, analyzing and judging, give what you can. Remember that many people asking us for help may not be able to navigate government programs for assistance. Most people standing by the side the road, or under a bridge did not choose this lifestyle because they are too lazy to work. There are mental, physical and social issues that stand between them and the life we might think they should lead.
You are not considering whether or not to sign over your 401K, give your home away or sell your house and donate 1/2, so don’t put so much pressure on the decision. Remember, it’s an invitation. An invitation to brighten someone’s day, an invitation to judge less and give more.
If you give freely, you will not make someone an alcoholic, keep someone on the streets, or perpetuate homelessness. It may be a dollar to you, but be open to the possibility that you are giving one person hope with your contribution.
While I do give when I can, I don’t always carry extra to give away. I’ll be stocking up so I can always give freely. I’ve also created a business that will give freely. 50% of every sale, not profit, but every sale of my limited edition photography from One Million for Good will go to a good organization doing great things. You can nominate a charity that you support.
Do you give freely? Will you?