A Gift of Need is a Gift Indeed

The Valuable Gift

A Gift of Need is a Gift Indeed

In a society where the tradition of gift giving has been perpetuated through the years, it can be difficult to not be drawn into the commercialism of the holidays. When one holiday ends another holiday’s products have already been stocked on the store shelves for the opening of the consumer’s eyes, as well as their pocket books. And so, once again the psychological game begins of want versus need. An obligation to purchase more than is needed for friends and family who typically are grateful with whatever they already have has become a challenge for many.

I believe it is important to understand what drives our decisions, and by understanding our actions more deeply we can be better prepared to make the necessary changes to see through more charitable eyes. By doing this our decisions can benefit not just the recipient but us as well in a more profound sense. “Am I charitable?” may be easily answered by many of you, but really understanding its meaning may bring a deeper sense of understanding to the giver. The word charitable is described as “relating to the assistance of those in need.” The key word here is “need.”

So, what is the perfect gift to give someone, and do you tend to give without completely understanding the need versus the want? Are you stingy to provide those things that would require more time rather than money, or visa versa, and do you overindulge to fill a void you don’t quite understand? If you take the time to analyze your personal gift-giving history you may learn much about what drives you in this endeavor. Yes, knowing what emotionally draws you in or away can help you to better understand your own spirit of giving, inhibited or not.

There is a wonderful children’s book by Shel Silverstein titled The Giving Tree. In this fable a tree gives and gives of itself to the boy it loves. The gifts are plenty: apples for nourishment, shade from the heat of the day, branches to build the desires of the boy’s heart and then finally its trunk to build a boat so the boy could sail away and be happy. The tree gave its all for the boy it loved, yet this boy seemed to take and take, not thinking of what truly was being sacrificed by the tree. In the end the boy, now an old man, shows up to greet the tree. The tree is very sad at this point because it feels that it has no more to give, for all that is left of it is an old stump. The man then states that all he really needs now is a quiet place to sit and rest, and so in the final act of giving the tree provides a resting place on the stump of the old tree. It is the final words of the tree that touches the heart of the reader in the end, which are, “And the tree was happy.”

This tale is beautiful in its ability to teach the gift of giving regardless of another’s capacity to appreciate and love in return. Do we give out of a desire for our own acceptance, and if we are not appreciated for all we do in the end do we tend to stop in our giving, in our loving . . . in our charity? We need to understand that it is our actions that we have control over, and like the tree many of us will unconditionally give our all because that is what we feel we must do when we love someone. Yet, as the giver, is this really the greatest benefit for the receiver? Wouldn’t it be best to give that which is needed verses that which is wanted, and how do we decide what one may need? First you must know the person, their hobbies, the things they love to do or wish to become. If you can discover what they most would require if they could see their own great potential and give according to that, you will have discovered the greater gift to give. If you know that the person has an ability and aptitude for music, provide a gift that will help him or her tap into that skill. Learn to see their potential (which is sometimes best seen by others) and give according to this.

I have discovered that the greatest of gifts are those things that give far beyond their intent. Giving of a skill is by far more valuable than the simple gift itself. Whether you give a book to fill an interest or a hobby, tools or instruments to aid in the deeper potential of music, art or craftsmanship, these gifts of learning and education quite possibly will aid in building belief in another to develop their own happiness beyond things. Learning to give gifts of value beyond the monetary will help others know what their greater potential can be, helping them to discover a belief in Self. And when the seasons have passed and life has moved on, you will be as the Giving Tree was”¦. happy!

 

In Other’s Words:

“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking

that they can do things. When they believe in themselves

they have the first secret of success.”

~Norman Vincent Peale~

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