Stop thinking about money.
Not thinking about money? Well good. I know whenever I hear the word generosity the first thing that comes to mind is, “Ok so who his asking for money and how much?” After the events of this weekend though, I’ve begun to rethink that default mentality. You see, other types of generosity are often overlooked, taken for granted, or not deemed acceptable in place of money. I’m hoping this may change your mind if you are like me and hear “generosity” and think “genero$ity.” I see three things you can be generous with that won’t cost you a dime and I was hit with all three this past weekend. It was utterly (stop thinking of cows) overwhelming. Here they are:
When was the last time you were generous with your time? This weekend I was able to see the product of an enormous amount of time dedicated (you don’t “spend” time ) by my sister, mother, aunts, and cousins turning a hall into what could have easily been a small, Valentine’s Day themed wedding. From center pieces, to decor, to desserts, to props the entire party wasn’t just a wedding shower it was an experience. Walking around the room was like walking around Disney looking for these. There wasn’t a detail or touch that wasn’t given thought and time. That was one major example, another includes Robyn’s parents sitting with us for 3 hours as we picked invitations, wording, and planned half our honeymoon. Time that they could have easily used for things they had to get done. The examples here didn’t cost anything. People chose to use their time, generously, to add that much more to the life Robyn & I are starting together. Who could you show generosity to by intentionally sharing some time with them?
This goes hand in hand with TIME, sometimes but not always. You see the party this weekend was originally planned for the previous weekend also known as the weekend of the Blizzard of 2013. The amount of effort shared by all families in rearranging schedules, redoing an enormous amount of food and desserts, and making the trip to come out on a Saturday night was worth more than any dollar amount. People could have just shown up, sat down, had a good meal, took some pictures, and left but they didn’t. There was a dress code, and everyone followed it. There were props, and almost everyone played with them. Those things take effort. Some people bought new outfits just for the party! Effort cost nothing because in the end all effort is, is the act of being intentional with your energy. Where can you be generous with your energy and act with intention?
I’m not saying you have to give away one of your two cookies you have stashed in your lunch box. (Am I the only one who carries a lunch box still?) I’m saying, if you have something to share – do it! As part of the party theme (Valentine’s Day), there was a mailbox set up with blank Valentine’s cards to be written out to Robyn and I. A cute idea and nice touch by itself. It was the sharing that brought the mailbox to life. At the end of the night, Robyn and I had about 40 cards to read through. 40! I don’t know about you but back in the day of elementary school when you put a paper bag on your desk for Valentine’s I don’t ever remember getting 40 (if I did they were generic TMNT ones that compared me to pizza). Our family and friends shared. We had funny cards, serious cards, thoughtful cards, cute cards. Every card had a message longer than a sentence. Every card, you could tell, created a moment of pause for who was writing it. The other sharing that took place was receiving a note from a former student giving me an update and sharing her appreciation for having worked with me while she was a student. We say educators are in thankless roles but when something like that comes along, you brush your shoulders off, smile, and file it in the “Pick Me Up” folder. Generosity was that student sharing. Generosity was our families sharing. What can you generously share today with someone?
Time. Effort. Sharing.
Three things that won’t cost you a penny but can make you one of the most generous person people know.
Since this was a longer than intended post, I thank you for being generous with your time. Rock on.