This holiday season take the test and discover if you’re a Giver or a Taker.
“Give me money!” is one of the few English phrases children in Malawi have learnt.
There they stand along the bumpy roadside waving their hands in expectation. What have we Westerners taught them?
On the beach it’s hard to take a walk without someone coming up, nice and friendly, “How are you? Where are you from?” and after that the sympathy stories ooze forth. “I’m a poor student.” “I have many hungry children.” After a while I find myself having very unchristian thoughts! What about during this holiday season?
When we cross borders and we’re barraged with vendors trying to sell us everything from a car-wash (with a dirty rag) to the currency of the next country (at twice the exchange rate.) Huge wooden carvings or baskets, that we have absolutely no room for in our Land Rover, are held in outstretched hands, with the customary, “I give you a good price.” I’ve found myself transforming into this ice queen. I don’t like it, but it works. It keeps the Takers at bay, or at least gets rid of them quickly.
Stop it already! I get so very tired of the constant wanting, the taking. What ever happened to giving?
Now, you might say, “But, they’re the poor, you’re supposed to be giving to them.” Well, there’s much more to giving than money. There’s a simple smile, a “hello”, “Are you enjoying our country?” “Can I help you find….?” Anything that creates that feeling of you care about me as a human being instead of treating me like an ATM machine.
Sadly, I realize I can’t really fault them. It’s us westerners with our, “Oh poor you,” attitude and billions of dollars of hand-outs that’s shaped this. Created this “you owe me” mentality in many cultures and countries. Have we made Takers out of people who were once Givers?
This holiday season test yourself
Do you find yourself thinking of others? Wondering what you can do to make their day brighter? Pondering what you can do to make them feel special?
Or are you focused on the deals you can find for yourself? That latest gadget? Newest big boy toy? Hottest item?
Has the holiday season with all its commercialism created Takers out of us?
Did you realize one of wildlife’s biggest threats continues to be human Takers?
How so? Humans who eat them. Hang their heads on a wall. Sell their body parts or take away their land, their wild places. This holiday season may I implore you to become more of a Giver. If not for humans, do it for wildlife. Don’t kill them by buying products made from their body parts.
Nurture the Giver in you
Take a moment to watch the sunrise.
Watch a bird. Look at its intricate feathers. Brilliant colors.
Stroke the soft fur of a cat. Domestic cat, not a lion or cheetah cub.
Gaze at majestic mountains or wide open plains.
Drink in the beauty of the natural world.
Refill your soul from the deep well of creation.
Do this and you’ll surely find yourself returning to ‘real’ life refreshed, refueled and a more natural Giver.
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!
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