Generosity extends well beyond monetary gifts
6/26/2014 1:15:38 PM
Splash Guest Column
"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." - John Wooden
There are a lot of different ways that you can take the word generosity. This quote is a good representation of what it means because you aren't generous just so that you can get something in return; you do it because you want to help someone out.
There are three ways to show generosity: time, treasure and talent. When I think of true generosity, there are a few people in the community who come to mind. They give their time, money and knowledge just to help other people, and they cover all of the three aspects of generosity. In the small community where I live, the same people are continuously giving, and I think that to be truly generous you cannot just be sporadic in your generosity. It is something you do all the time; it becomes a habit.
Just the other day, I came across a great example of generosity. I am incredibly lucky to have a very generous best friend. She was taking her state test, and I was having a pretty rough day. I told her about it, and while I don't recommend doing this, she rushed through her test just so that she could see me 4th period and make sure I was OK. She was willing to drop everything to help me out, and that showed generosity. She wasn't worried about how she would do on her test; she was just worried about me. She didn't do it for me to say thank you; she did it because she really cared.
Generosity is a gift of the heart, and in many ways I think it is connected to love. In the words of Olaf from "Frozen," "Love is putting other people's needs before your own." That is what generosity is all about: recognizing other's needs, and helping them before you help yourself.
The biggest issue with generosity is that most people think that it is the giving of material things - money, food or other objects - and this is not necessarily the case. I believe the most meaningful form of generosity are the small things, like giving your time when you are in a hurry, your ear to listen when you want to talk or helping to make a friend's day better even if you are not having the best day either.
Generosity is quiet. It isn't for the recognition or the thanks. It is selfless and even small. The smallest form of generosity could end up making someone's day a whole lot better. Anyone can be generous.
You may only have one of the three branches of generosity to give, but sometimes that makes you more generous, because you are giving all you have. Generosity is giving what you can, and expecting nothing in return.
It is my opinion that generosity is not something you are just born with. Anyone can learn it, but the easiest way to learn it is by example. Look for and recognize the people in your community whom you think embody generosity, and if you try to replicate their actions, soon it becomes second nature.
My advice is to start small and do little things like taking the time to hold a door open, helping an older person cross the street or, my favorite, flashing a smile to someone in the hallway. These actions may not seem like much, but I guarantee you will improve someone's day, and that means something.
I think we hold the trait generosity in such high esteem because it really is a thankless virtue, and you only do it because you really want to help. You really want good for the other person.
If everyone was trying to improve the lives of everyone else, think of what a great place this could be.
Kynlee Dub recently finished her freshman year at Tekoa High School. Her activities include captaining her basketball team, raising steers for her FFA project and riding her dirt bike. She wrote this column as part of a series highlighting the PACE trait of the month. The trait for July is generosity.