As we wind down to the end of the year, you may feel heavy with the thought of all the sad things that are happening across the world, and in our own country. You may feel overwhelmed because often there is little that we can do about them. However, there are things we can do where we stand. The true spirit of Christmas is the spirit of giving and love. Now, I know what you are thinking, it has been a tough year, and it has but hear me out. There is a story, often attributed to Katherine Hepburn, but it is actually a story from the life of Dan Clark. Dan was a motivational speaker and life coach who shared the following short story in the 1995 book “A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul”:
“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.
The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives. The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.” He was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy.
The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.” The ticket lady stated the price.
The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price. The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?
Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”
The man understood what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”
My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with. Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide. That day I learnt the value to Give.
The Giver is bigger than the Receiver. If you want to be large, larger than life, learn to Give. Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.
The importance of giving, blessing others can never be over emphasized because there’s always joy in giving. Learn to make someone happy by acts of giving.”
There are things we can do where we are, whenever the opportunity arises. We may not have to drop a $20 but we will know in those moments what we should do. All we have to do is act. Let’s make this a #familytreasureschristmas where we actively look, wait and are ready for opportunities to love and give. Giving can include our time and our talents, please don’t think for a second that if you are struggling you can’t give. You can give and you are needed.
Have you been on the receiving end of a kind and loving act? Did you come across an opportunity to give, unexpectedly? Please share your experiences below or tag us on Social Media. Let’s make kindness trend this Christmas.