Monday, February 16, 2009

Why Selfless Giving Requires a State of ETERNAL Internal Abundance.

For the next two weeks, my children and I are studying on the concept of GIVING in our leadership class. Teaching this is more complicated than I expected. My 9 and 10 year old are still dangerously close to the “it’s all about me” stage of their development. Like any normal elementary age kids, they have their empathetic and generous moments which can turn instantaneously turn into greed and selfishness. Hmmmm!!!! Maybe that behavior isn’t just limited to children. It seems to apply to me, too, and a little too closely, I might add.

I have a plethora of resources in my leadership library to supplement my teaching on this topic, but there is one really basic concept that MUST come through if they are going to get it. In order to give, you must have something to give. This requires one to be in a state of eternal internal abundance. What is this internal state of abundance and how does one get there? Eternally!

Well, let’s start with what it is not. It is not scarcity. It is not lack. It is not “protectionism”. This buzzword—“protectionism” has been popping up everywhere lately. It seems like all the major news channels and financial newsletters are all talking about how a new trend towards “protectionism” by many of the world’s leading economies, will escalate and prolong this global economic downturn. Well, that just sums it up perfectly! When we are in a state of scarcity or lack, we become protectionists, ultimately prolonging our scarcity and lack creating a downward death spiral of doom. Wow! That was depressing. But, isn’t that sort of the mindset of the collective consciousness right now? We have to snap out of this! Collectively.

On the other hand, when you are in a state of internal abundance, you are open to unlimited possibilities. You realize that the world has unlimited resources for everyone to enjoy, and that God really intended all of us to partake in the abundance He created. When you feel abundant, you believe you can give and give and give and still have more than enough. The giving begets giving—which perfectly describes the classic “art of reciprocation.” Every good sales person knows that in order to close the sale, they must give away something of value. I am hoping I can teach this concept to my children minus the manipulative salesperson techniques and sponsorship opportunities.

So, I have my hands full this week. How do you teach others (including myself) that it is in your best interest in life to remain in a state of ETERNAL internal abundance? And how do you actually get there? I am open to ideas. This blog is actually a cry for help!

In order to understand giving, we must understand what it is not. And once the intellectual understanding is instilled, we must move on to the practical day to day applications of being brave enough to put aside our own selfish needs in order to offer something up to someone else. And why is it often most difficult to do this with those we are closest too? That’s for another blog.

Somehow, I don’t think it will be learned in a few lessons. I think we’ll be working on this for a lifetime. Maybe that’s where the ETERNAL aspect of this comes in to play.

My kids will need a few “lighter” examples of this principle to inspire them. We watched Extreme Home Makeover tonight. That was an appropriate start and provided a few opportune moments of selfless giving sponsored by Sears. I have a feeling I’ll be digging up the movie “Pay it Forward” as well, and maybe a few episodes of Oprah’s “Big Give.” On a deeper and more spiritual level, our Mother Teresa reports are due this week, and she is and amazing contemporary example of “selfless giving.”

So let me offer up one of my favorite quotes by her. Hopefully it will inspire you as much as it has me.

Sign In Mother Teresa's Office

People are unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered


If you do good, people will
accuse you of selfish,
ulterior motives,


If you are successful, you win
false friends and true enemies,


The good you do will
be forgotten tomorrow,


Honesty and frankness
make you vulnerable,


What you spent years building
may be destroyed overnight,


People really need help but
may attack you if you help them,


Give the world the best you
have and you'll get kicked
in the teeth,


From a sign on the wall
of Shishu Bhavan,
the Children's home in Calcutta

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