Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let Me Be Nice How I Want to Be Nice

Today was Kindness Day and I really did try to be kind, but some folks wouldn't let me. Not in the way I wanted to anyway.

This is my week in the school book fair, as I mentioned yesterday, offering some parent tips for the kids' literary shopping sprees.  Today, a little girl came to the book fair and was so sad that (a) we were out of the diary-style book she wanted and (b) she didn't have enough money for a book anyway.  Then she got all "I thought this would be the year I got a book" and I felt like I was in a scene from the A Christmas Carol.  I told her to pick any book - any chapter book / book with paragraphs and bring it to me.  She cried, no, no, she didn't want that, she wanted the diary book and no other book would do.  Well, given (a) and (b) above, that wasn't going to happen.  Again, I offered (c) get a book to read.  No, there was no other books on all the shelves that she liked, but these light-up pens would do.  I sent her on back to class, empty-handed.

Yeah, I applied my own values on this kid via my wanna-be charitable effort.  I like reading books and that's all I was willing to give.

When you give - whether to charity, your church (or other religious institution), or the guy standing on the street corner - do you have stipulations on how your money should be used?  Although I felt bad for the little girl, I figured, if I'm going to get this book for you, it's going to be what I want you to have.  Right?  I know I'm not the only one, because I've heard people say that they would buy a homeless man a sandwich, but not give him $5.  Why? Because, they want to give a sandwich, not money to do with however he pleases (i.e. like buy a bottle of ripple).  And not just individuals, we do this to organizations, too.  We do this in church, not giving to the building fund until we see some bricks stacked up by the pulpit.  We earmark our alumni donations to our college or our favorite sport (in a winning season).  We figure its our's to give, we'll give as we want.

Is that the right way to give? Or once we deem a person, organization, or cause to be in need of our help, should we just give freely, without stipulation?

We're counting down to #GivingTuesday and reflecting on how we do and can give back to our community.  Let us know in the Comments below. 

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