Over the past two weeks of discussing The Habit of Selfless Giving, I have received many calls and emails from people telling me of parents and grandparents who exemplify selfless giving in the very ways in which they conduct their lives. This afternoon I received a call quite different from all the others. This time the caller was a grandparent calling to proudly brag of the selfless exploits of her 23-year-old granddaughter, Megan.
Megan, from an early age took great delight in sharing her food with her siblings and her toys with her friends. She seemed to always concern yourself with insuring those around her were happy and having fun.
As she grew up and entered her teens she freely volunteered her time to mentor classmates who were struggling and to offer her services such as cutting grass and shoveling snow to elderly neighbours in the community.
At age 16, having decided on a career as a paramedic, she completed a first aid course and then volunteered her services at neighbourhood sporting events. She was also the designated driver of choice at all her friend’s parties.
She attended university and completed a bachelor’s degree before furthering her education to become a paramedic and, despite a gruelling schedule, still found time to volunteer each week at her church and twice a week at the local food bank.
Her grandmother explained to me that Megan does not know how to not give of herself and sees it as her mission to rid the world of all its aches and pains.
She also is rather humble about her deeds and jokingly explains her actions to those who ask that volunteering one’s time to help others in any capacity is the most self-serving, hedonistic and narcissistic of all acts because how else can one get so much pleasure from doing so little?
I asked Megan’s grandmother where she thought this driven need to help came from and she explained that both of Megan’s parents, her daughter and son-in-law, were like minded and strongly believe that our most important role life is to serve others and help those less fortunate.
It took a little further digging on my part before Megan’s grandmother would confess to having played an enormous role in shaping her daughters sharing philosophy and that she too had been raised by parents who freely gave of themselves to all.
The Habit of Selfless Giving has been a guiding light in this family for four generations and one can only marvel at the thought of the countless number of people whose lives have been enriched by the actions with these wonderful people.
I asked her to ask Megan to call me and when she did, and I told her of everything her grandmother had said. She shyly commented that to her The Habit of Selfless Giving simply means doing the things that give you the greatest pleasure and for her that pleasure comes from helping others.
Megan is a young lady with a long life ahead of her and one can only imagine how many lives will be brightened as she spreads her message of service.
There’s no question The Habit of Selfless Giving benefits those who give as much as those who receive. Life doesn’t offer too many activities that produce equal and reciprocal value so perhaps the message for all of us is that if we want our lives to be happier we simply need to give more.
Food for thought, isn’t it?
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.