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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A reflection on giving.

       As part of the Smart Money Smart Kids launch team, I had an opportunity to read the book ahead of time, and now I get to share it with you. I loved this book, it had a lot of no nonsense approaches to helping kids give, save, and spend wisely. What really touched me was the chapter on giving.

       During the chapter, Rachel tells about her brother giving $10,000 to a community in Peru that he had saved up for a car, but didn't use, and despite Dave asking "Are you sure about this you have college coming up soon" Daniel just explained that the money wasn't his which is why he wanted to give it.

   You read that correctly, a TEENAGER gave $10,000 to a community of people he has never met. 

Don't Underestimate Yourself

      It was August. For students in sororities at Iowa State that means one thing: recruitment. Our house was having a conversation practice, which was essentially like a mock interview. I was paired with someone that I thought I had NOTHING in common with. I was more nervous than anything, which is ridiculous since I was living with her for the next few years in the chapter house. 
     She asked about what I did for community service activities, I was bit embarrassed to say that I had ONLY volunteered by serving dinner at a local charity. I even thought that I was selfish by doing this because I did it when I was bored and was motivated by the fact that I got a free dinner. 
     I don't even think I got through my sentence before she said "OH MY GOSH.. I don't think I know anyone who does that. I don't know anyone who thinks to volunteer when they're bored. Literally no one." 
     Today I knew I wanted to write about giving (as April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Financial Literacy Month, and Smart Money Smart Kids is coming out-- I tried to tie them together in a away that fits my blog and is appropriate) and I was unsure how to start. I read about some ways to start giving, and I saw things like "help people with their luggage" and "Donate blood" and "Serve at a soup kitchen" and I realized that I had done (or enlisted my husband to do) all of those things. Start small and work your way up.
    Although I don't know Daniel personally, I'm sure on some level he wished he could do more or thought that he wasn't doing enough to help. It may have took his family jumping up and down and getting excited for him to realize how big of a giving experience this was. 
   Wherever you're at, you can give or be in a giving mindset. Maybe you give your neighbor a lift, maybe you redo a website for a non-profit. To me, even that girl who talked to me during the recruitment practice gave. She gave encouragement, and without that I may not be as much of a giver as I am today. Acknowledge what you do.

Don't Overestimate Yourself

   When I was working in Domestic Violence Services I saw people who put their superhero cape on. They would get crushed about 30 minutes into their shift. If you're giving to have people kiss your feet, you're probably giving for the wrong reasons. When you give to receive praise you are using the people your giving to as a way to meet your needs. You may quit if you don't get the praise (and there will be times you don't). Giving is a big deal but it's a bigger deal when you do it automatically and without reward. In fact, the reward is giving. You realize the things you have and are able to do can make a huge difference in the world. 
     I think what touched me the most about Daniel's story is how nonchalant he was about it. Through Rachel's telling of the story it also seemed like she was impressed by how quickly and without fanfare he gave. Dave calls it a "Proud dad moment" When I read it I had to have a cry session and I have been tearing up the whole time writing this. It is really just that beautiful when someone gives humbly. 
    You aren't morally better if you have money and time to give and people aren't morally worse if they need to receive.

More is Caught Than Taught

     Want to surround yourself with people who are good givers? then give yourself. This works in two different ways, one is that through giving you will meet givers. There are plenty of organizations to get involved in, but you can also sign up to volunteer directly with non-profits themselves. Different strokes for different folks.
     Also, by being a giver yourself you encourage others to give as well. It may be that someone sees how easy it is to give, or they see the benefits of giving. Another thing that may happens is that you have friends wanting to give but they didn't want to go at it alone. By being a giver your friends may see a piece of how to be the person they want to be in you. 

If you would like to check out Smart Money Smart Kids feel free to check it out (and pre-order!) by clicking the button below. 

The Dedicated House


  1. I love the phrase more is caught than taught. With a teaching background I know that is completely true! Thank you for linking up over at to share about SMSK!

  2. Love the story about Daniel's Giving!

  3. I, too, love the phrase more is caught than taught. I referenced it in my recent post as well. Being intentional in everything we do is crucial because little eyes are always on us!

    Your blog is great! Hope you'll check out mine as well!