The spirit of our generosity is seen in what we are willing to share with others from our personal talents. If we only think about giving or sharing being about money or things, we have missed the greatest joys found in giving of ourselves. Sharing the talents we have, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us, can bring someone in need just the lift they require.
Think for a few minutes about the talents that you have. Even if you are young, you may be able to read, sing, dance, color that could be shared with a younger sibling, a parent, grandparent, a friend. If you knew someone who was sick, do you have the talent of baking or cooking a special dish that could be shared and appreciated?
Another way of enjoying the talent and generosity of others is to think about those special people in your life that have shared things with us. Instead of taking what they have done for granted, think back to the individual who shared with you how to ride a bike, roller skate, swim, read, dance. All of these were acts of generosity. You may have been on a talented team that helped raise money, or performs a job.
I think back on several events in my life being a part of a team that gave what we had to help others as some of the best memories in my life. Going to Kenya with a team from “Think Kindness” to share with those living in an orphanage. Attending several times work in Greensboro, Alabama with martial artists from around the world rebuilding, renovating and helping individuals and the community. So many hands working together created such joy in the community and within ourselves.
The spirit of generosity whether practiced as an individual, as a family or on a team helps us to give and receive abundantly.
All generosity begins with gratitude and knowing there is enough of what we have for everyone. Particularly this is the case with being generous with our time. When we wake up in the morning and have the day ahead of us, this is a gift. Another day of life, time available to use for living fully. I have to wonder how we will use this time? Will we keep it all to fill our needs and pleasures or will we share our time with others by giving in some manner?
Giving our time to others is sharing what the Universe has blessed us with one more moment. Using our time to benefit those around us by helping with the chores in the house, taking the time to listen to a family member and what they need are ways that we can share our time with others. No matter how we use this time, it begins with an appreciation for the day and time provided to us.
If we are awake for 16 hours a day that is 930 minutes. Can we find a few of those minutes to give to others in service to their needs? If we find ourselves saying we do not have time for something or someone, other needs are more important to us than what we are being asked to contribute. Others, especially our children are learning to determine what is important in life by what we as parents give our time and attention. They are learning by watching how we respond to them and others.
When we give our time, doing so with 100% attention tells the other person we are invested in serving them. Time is one of our most valuable assets and sharing it with others is an indication of our growth in the virtue of generosity.
Teaching children to be both!
Generosity is a virtue, a Gift of Character that every child and human have within. Everyone can give to others freely just because they want to do so. Generosity begins with knowing that there is enough for everyone and when we share what is valuable to us there is joy on both sides, for the giver and the receiver.
There is a difference between generosity and charity, though. When we give to those that have any or very few of their treasures that we are practicing charity. When we give and share with others things that we value, are our favorites we are generous. Imagine if you were awakening the gift of generosity in your child you might ask them if they would be “generous and share their stuff toy or blanket with their sibling”? That is generosity!
If you were to give the blanket to someone who was in need of one, you would be practicing charity. As a family, we would like to practice both of these gifts. How can you encourage your child to be generous with their treasures by sharing them with other family members or visiting friends? At the same time, we want to practice charity by giving up treasures that others may be able to use.
Being generous with our things is one way of noticing opportunities to give and share with those we know and are close to us. It is the beginning of learning to discern when those outside our circle of the family are in need and finding it within us to give to them freely also.
Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Generosity. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.
Young students: I give to others!
Older students: Giving of one’s time, treasures, and talents without expecting anything in retur.
We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.
If you would like to see Joe Van Deuren and Balanced Life Skills at work, TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2 weeks.
To get beyond our feelings of anger towards another person one simple thinking technique is to use the virtue of empathy and understanding. Empathy and understanding do not require that we agree with the other person. However it does mean that you are listening to them, acknowledging them, and are willing to discuss the two points of view.
Just asking yourself what the other person is feeling right now is a good first step. They may be afraid of losing something that is important to them or they physically be tired, sick or anxious about another event. All of these could create a response that does not fit into what we would like or expect.
You could also then ask, What is really important to them now. It is possible that some world affair is on their mind and they may have very strong view that do not fit the way you are thinking. But if it is important to them they may express themselves strongly wanting to be heard and understood.
Finally ask, How they are viewing this situation. They may see or hear this situation as a confrontation and it may not be so in your mind. Keeping in mind how they see or feel the subject at hand gives us insight into where the person’s point of view is coming from.
Using our empathy skills is a fundamental way of helping us be less angry.
When it comes to anger, there are ways of calming ourselves and managing anger safely and appropriately. There are many things that we can do, and each of us needs to find what works for us. You will hear some say “Take three deep breaths.” or “Count to ten backward.” or take a break and excuse yourself from the situation for a few minutes while you regain control. All of these are really about pausing and thinking about what your goal is in this relationship you are engaging.
Continue reading “Calming ourselves when feeling angry – Part 1”