Giving From The Heart With Healthy Boundaries
We’re raising our children with a consciousness of gratitude and giving. Every year we volunteer at events to help the less fortunate, and we participate in every church and school drive. Our family feels very fortunate, and we teach our children to give unconditionally even when it’s not “easy”.
Mitch, the holiday seasons and giving have ironically become challenging for us. My husband and I lost our jobs a few years ago, and now work for much lower salaries. As Christmas arrives, so do the charity pleas.. and they keep coming and coming!
Our Son asked us the other day, “Mom, we still have to help everyone, right?”, as he listened to us discuss our dwindling bank account.
My husband and I read your column religiously because you clearly are very conscious about how you live your life. How would you handle our dilemma? We actually LOVE giving, it’s very rewarding! However, we also have to watch out budget very closely these days. Obviously, there’s SOME “right time” to say, “Sorry, we can’t”! When is that, Mitch?
Thank you for all you do,
Elk Grove, California
“There’s no such thing as a ‘Bad Day’ when you gave to others” ~ My saying..
… I guess I should add, “..As long as it doesn’t get you in trouble”..
I’m absolutely right with you, and I highly respect your commitment to a conscious, charitable life! I don’t have to tell you how much you and your family will benefit emotionally, mentally and spiritually from giving to others, and even more, from a greater consciousness as to why you are giving!
Yes, there absolutely ARE times to say, “No, I can’t”! However, WHEN is a very fluid, subjective dynamic that a conscious person will wrestle with..
A couple of intellectual/practical points to start with…
* You and your Husband would benefit from setting some of your OWN Giving Guidelines. What is your Giving Budget? If you set a dollar amount for the year and/or per month, then you can say, “No” when you simply have exhausted your Giving Budget.
What is your Giving Community? Can you set some boundaries? Some people choose to give only to charities their family and/or friends are involved with. Some give only to charities that, for example, research methods to end illnesses, or those that help Senior Citizens!
Another example of a Giving Community might be children who are severely traumatized by Cancer, homelessness, home fire, new handicap, whatever. In Sacramento area, The League of Heroes Inspired collects Gifts for all traumatized children (you can find them on Facebook)! If you have boundaries, it’s easier to know when to say, “yes”, or “no”.
Do you have any concern about the percentage of Donations that provide services vs. being used toward Overhead and Administration costs? Major organizations’ information is available @ http://www.guidestar.org, though our local Cub Scout Troop or school carnival won’t be listed.
Note: “Picking our battles” often means not taking the time to investigate a group. However, there is a LOT of abuse and misuse of funds, even by major organizations. At least considering what you can learn about an organization can help with giving decisions.
All intellectual considerations aside…
** The axiom, “Charity Begins At Home”, means one has to love Self and Family primarily to be strong to give to others. Eroding your financial and/or emotional foundation is NOT what’s best for your family. And you don’t want to teach your children to disregard themselves all in service to others..
** If you’re teaching your children to appreciate Life’s “little things”, then it’s totally appropriate to recognize that many of those considered to be “less fortunate” also have “the little things”, and if you can’t give to them, you can simply hope or pray they too can “appreciate”.
** Discussing your giving over the years (or, even over the past year) can lend perspective. That holiday-time deluge of giving opportunities, while generally well-meant, are just as valid next year sometime.
** Charitable giving is laden with “stories” ~ What’s “good”, “enough”, “needed”.. I recommend identifying your family’s stories, so you can be released from subjective beliefs and “shoulds”, and give more powerfully from an intuitive base.
** Meanwhile, I’m amazed at the people who don’t tip me when I perform InspirationWeddings, noting they’re “broke”. While I’m not a charity, I recognize that some of us think we “don’t have enough”, when $10.. can make someone’s day, or their budget!
Protect, yet Give From Your Heart…
Mitch Darnell, MS, OSM, CRC
Relationship Coach & InspirationWedding Officiant