Addiction is generally considered a bad thing. However, a new research study suggests that if you think about times you've been helpful or generous, you will want to repeat that behavior.
A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that thinking about what we’ve given, rather than what we’ve received, may lead us to be more helpful toward others. Reference
What this means to me (the more independent, I'll-do-it-myself sort) is that I need to accept help and people's generocity more often. Giving and helping make people feel good. We know that. Now if I accept the help and be appropriately thankful, then this will help set a foundation of helping for that person that may increase the likelyhood that they will give again.
A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that thinking about what we’ve given, rather than what we’ve received, may lead us to be more helpful toward others.
I follow HH Dalai Lama on Facebook because he always throws out great attitude adjusters to start my day. This morning's pearl:
The more adept we become at cultivating an altruistic attitude, the happier we will feel and the more comfortable will be the atmosphere around us. But if our emotions fluctuate wildly and we easily give in to hatred and jealousy, even our friends will avoid us. So even for people with no spiritual beliefs, it is important to have a peaceful mind.
I'm sharing a link to a great article on getting children involved with fundraising for good causes.
Pearls from the article include:
"There are so many benefits to introducing children to charity fundraising. These can be educational – learning about different countries, the environment, food chains, war – or related to personal development – altruism, motivation, and achievement."
"...it’s important to pitch the message just right so the children aren’t overwhelmed by the injustice and cruelty in the world..."
I would add the following items:
Do your best to make sure that kids see exactly what their funds are going to do and who they are going to help. Field trips are a great way to do this.
Debrief after field trips. Kids pick up on lots of things, but sometimes are unable to process what they've seen and heard. Take time to talk about the experience and emotions they may have had.
Give kids a chance to choose who they want to help and how they should do it. The lessons will help them develop self-confidence and an increased sense of they can make a difference.
Please chime in here! What advice do you have when getting kids involved in working for good causes?
I was just not feeling the creative juices this week. I'm afraid the pollen (and allergy medicine) have my brain in slow-poke mode. So here are some posts I found this week that I really enjoyed. I hope you do too.
It all started back last August. I signed up for a one day conference downtown. Before leaving the house I decided to greet each homeless person that came to me with a smile and if they asked for money that I would give them some.
I know... doesn't sound like much, but for me it really is. A chance to put my faith into action. No my religious faith so much as it is my faith in the notion that what a person does with his or her gift doesn't matter... it is the process of giving that transforms.
You see, after years working with mentally ill and/or substance abusing men and women, I know all too well that it just takes a few dollars to purchase things one really shouldn't purchase. In the past, I have given people money with the admonishment not to buy drugs or alcohol. Lets face it, I was doing that to really squelch my fears rather than out of any heartfelt caring for the person to whom I was giving the money.
On that fateful day in August, a gentleman sat near the train station entrance with a sign reading, "I'm homeless and hungry." So I stopped that day, said hello, asked the gentleman his name and where he was from. He looked at me a little startled, but answered my questions - I suppose he was expecting me to haul him to the local shelter. I then gave him a few dollars. He then quickly told me that he was going in to the nearest fast food restaurant and going to get him something to eat. It was then that I told him that the money was a gift... mostly from me, but perhaps from God and for him to use the money however he thought best. He reassured me that he was going to get something to eat.
OK - you know... I don't know what that man did with the few dollars I gave him. I don't know that what I said changed anything for him. However, for that one moment in the day, he was a homeless and hungry person with a name and I hope that for a moment he didn't feel invisible.
To me, he changed how I saw things. When I asked him his name and where he was from, I realized that I asked him to join me in a space where we were both human beings. Previously, I had always greeted people asking for money with an admonition - mostly due to my own desire to keep them at a distance. Now, homelessness and hunger have a name, a face, and a hometown.
So out here in the burbs, I really don't get to see too many people asking for money. Yes, there are homeless people and there certainly are hungry people, but the keep to themselves. However, thanks to my August experience, I decided that I would continue to push through my neurosis and control structure to see what else I could learn and how the gift could transform me.
My first real test was Friday. I saw a fellow on the off ramp to the Airport exit. He was asking for money. I pulled a few dollars out, rolled down my window and offered it to the gentleman. His name was Terrence and he was from Ohio.
New research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds that women from virtually every income level are more likely to give to charity and to give more money on average than men, after controlling for education, income and other factors that influence giving.
“Looking at giving across five different income groups, which range roughly from $23,000 to $100,000 a year, it is clear that it is not only wealthy women who give,” said Debra J. Mesch, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. “Women across nearly every income category give significantly more than their male counterparts – in many cases, nearly twice as much.”
The Women Give 2010 report finds that "In every income bracket except for one, women give more than men. The most dramatic differences are in the lowest, middle, and highest brackets where women give almost double the amount of men. The exception is women in the second lowest income bracket ($23,509 to $43,500), who give 32 percent less than men."
Notably this research was done in households of single people to isolate the gender differences in giving. Giving in married or partnered households was not examined.
However in an attempt to make the data applicable to the partnered/married households the researchers compared never married women to never married men and found that women are almost 10% more likely to give than men. Then comparing divorced females to divorced men, women are 21% more likely to give than men; comparing widowers to widows, women are 6% less likely to give than men.
To this very day, every time I see the word "Oracle" I get annoyed. I think it started in the mid 90's when I traveled a lot for work. In every city I visited, I would fly in and before I could even land, I would see a building with "Oracle" plastered across the top in big letters. Then when I got on the ground, I would be required to drive by said building. I seemed like the buildings were built just a little bit taller than their neighbors (mostly Oracle competitors). The architecture was just a little bit more flashy and the window sparkled just a little brighter. I know it sounds judgmental, but combined with the news of the day it seemed that these buildings were just tangible evidence that Mr. Ellison might just fit Wilhelm Reich's definition of a phallic narcissist.
However, Mr. Ellison's curmudgeon-y response to the ultimate the curmudgeon, Mr. Buffet, made me appreciate him in a new way. Perhaps it is my cynicism that is raising its ugly head again, but I can't help but wonder if this calling all billionaires out on the carpet maneuver of Gates and Buffet isn't some sort of ploy to 1. draw attention to their philanthropic agendas, 2. garner some competitive advantage over other agendas so that people will see their charity as more credible (read: worthy of a donation, attention or volunteer time) than others or 3. both. Mr. Ellison's response seems to have supported those notions. And I appreciate what it took for him to take that leap of faith and I'm just amused with his style and his seemingly unwavering sense of self. With that said, I don't think that this personal Gates/Buffet rolodex Telethon is a intentional endeavor for personal fame or added personal fortune (however, it doesn't hurt). However, I don't think that publicity stunt to draw attention to billionaires giving away billions has any real meaning to the people suffering injustice or those of us who are working daily in small ways to make our world a better place.
Perhaps a recent editorial in the Mercury News says it best... "It isn't just the wealthy that should be philanthropists." I would add that being a philanthropist doesn't have any thing to do with the percentage of your wealth you give away. Instead, I would pose that being a philanthropist has everything to do with putting your best gifts toward making the world a better place. Obviously for some, it is money. However, for others it is time and effort, remembering, for without the trench workers, all the money in the world would make no difference.
So Mr. Ellison, despite the fact your stock just went up in my eyes for taking a gamble to publicly join the Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffet cause... I want to call your "'setting an example' and 'influencing others' to give'" and raise you a "volunteer and get your hands dirty to alleviate some suffering" or at least do your best to heap accolades on those who do.
About five months ago, I had a Facebook debate with a friend about medical malpractice. It started with a simple status update and evolved into a heated volley where we had to agree to disagree. At the core was a difference in how we view our rights. Note: the person I was debating with was a lawyer
He repeatedly asserted that everyone had a right to litigation and for a jury to decide what I was due. While I can't really argue with that, I kept thinking that no amount of money or court action could bring back what medical negligence takes away. Justice, for me, is a little more difficult to come by. No court action can reverse death, disability, or chronically poor health. Furthermore, I believe that pain and suffering are a human condition that are as intrinsic to our life as breathing and our heartbeat. So for me, it is utterly ridiculous to assume that a court or a lawyer would have an adequate panacea for those.
Musing on these things made me realize that justice for me is as simple as a sincere apology and an individual attempt to make things as right as possible. I realized that this notion of justice comes from the fact that I feel a duty to other people to do my best at all times and when I fail, I am obligated to say I'm sorry and to make restitution.
This simple debate brought to light that I would rather people in my world respond to duty than be compelled to action by a list of rights that have determined for us. So in my day-to-day wanderings through this life, I have been asking myself "What is my duty here? or "Do I have a duty to perform here?" I have found that I don't always have a duty to act. In some cases, my duty is to simply be a quiet presence or to let things unfold and not attempt to control the situation to my ends.
In focusing on what my duty is in situations, I have found that my 'rights' have lost the sparkle they once had. They are simply too dependent upon other people granting them to me.
So until further notice, I am going to live according to my duty and put my 'rights' on the backburner.
I feel like I lead an abundant life. I have everything I need (and I am thankful). I realize that I sit here in a free country, where I can say what I think, act in whatever way I deem appropriate. Yes, there are laws and consequences for breaking those laws, but in general, they are pretty well articulated and I understand them. Additionally, I have never experienced anything that has intentionally violated my rights. So, I firmly admit that if I was a child in the Sudan or even a poor person anywhere, I would view things differently.
So what is the balance between duty and rights?
If we were all to act according to our duty to one another, would that be enough for worldwide social justice?
What would that kind of worldwide social justice climate look like?
I'd be a fool to think that this is an epiphany of the universe. In fact, I know that if you look for something you will find it. So maybe I'm just feeding my ego, but I'd like to think that I'm just searching to understand how "Girl Power" really works.
With that said, I just found a great article by Mary Welch on CARE, an Atlanta-based humanitarian organization.
Click here to read about how CARE puts women at the center of a number of their community-based intiatives.
The epiphany of a new global view is like falling in love. It comes in a flood and it seems like new life is being breathed into every cell of your body. It is fun. Its exciting. Its why motivational programs are so energizing.
A few years ago I made a New Year's resolution to use DP to delve into those quiet little mind messages I gave myself that kept me from giving to causes I care about. That process led me to the notion that I could be a courageous giver of time, talent and treasure. I was all excited and I was in love with the new me. Or at least what I thought was the new me.
Well... the idea that an epiphany could automatically transform me is good in theory, but the unfortunate news is that real change required repeated acts of will to begin to really free myself my self-imposed cynical prison. Although probably not a newsflash for those of you who are also walking the path, but personal growth is a lot of hard work. Anyone who tells you different, is selling something.
Another important part of the process of personal growth is to take a minute to plant the flag and take a moment to enjoy being king/queen of the mountain. So, to start 2010, I'm claiming my success. I'm not saying that I've been cured of my cynicism, but I do have some coping skills when those thoughts raise their ugly head.
I'd like to say that I have a clear idea of my new goal. Well... I just don't. However, I'm clear that this is a new chapter. Yet, I'm really struggling to articulate and understand where I'm to go next. I hope this post will officially close out the old and set me on the way of finding the new.
For starters...I've not been as good at blogging over the last couple of years as I had hoped. In my excitement over the fact that I could release my cynicism and give out of abundance and gratitude, it was easy to write. However, when I hit the trenches of actually doing it... well, the words did not come as easy. Now, I realize that writing about the struggle is helpful for those who are also on the same path. That's just not me. For me, writing about the struggle takes me to the edge of whining and puts me back on the precipice of negativity, where I am just one step from the pit. I find I do better when I plow on through and then analyze what I could have done better.
So perhaps a good goal to start with is to use DP to 'plow on through." I know I have neglected it. So lets start a new. My interim goal is to just tap out something once a week. I'm not going to worry about the cohesiveness of the topics. I'm gonna just write about things that strike my fancy, with the hopes that overtime, I'll notice a trend.
I hope that you gentle readers will be patient with me as I incorporate my new voice into a new journey for something more. Please know, that I look forward to your comments and conversation. Afterall, I am one of those people who uses language to define obstacles and propel me forward. In the past, debate here has been quite helpful. So... Chime in!