Monday, December 14, 2009

Give, Receive, Give Thanks, Give Back - Do Not Sour

"It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it." - Albert Einstein

Could not get this out of my head today. Here is but one way in which I renovate myself.

First, I needed the correct definition of philanthropy. From my handy-dandy online dictionary, Merriam Webster, this is the definition from which I am working:

Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural phi·lan·thro·pies
Etymology: Late Latin philanthropia, from Greek philanthrōpia, from philanthrōpos loving people, from phil- + anthrōpos human being
Date: circa 1623
1 : goodwill to fellowmen; especially : active effort to promote human welfare
2 a : a philanthropic act or gift b : an organization distributing or supported by philanthropic funds

If someone, or a group, give/s out of the goodness of their respective being, then it is considered an "effort to promote human welfare" be it an act or a gift. Okay. That is understood. 

Now, I need the definition for abuse. Here is what dear ol' dictionary had to say:

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French abus, from Latin abusus, from abuti to consume, from ab-uti to use +
Date: 15th century
1 : a corrupt practice or custom
2 : improper or excessive use or treatment : misuse <drug abuse>
3 obsolete : a deceitful act : deception
4 : language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily
5 : physical maltreatment 

Looking at the transitive verb, to abuse, I find that with the offer of good acts or gifts, some of those in receipt, will abuse a system by their intent to misuse, misrepresent, or excessively  participate. 

Here is what I am trying to work through my noggin'. From the back (what I have seen), the sides (what I have heard), and the front (ability to think things through) to the blessed middle where I can make the connections to keep from just blowing my cool.

Long, long ago in a school classroom, far, far away, I met a youngster who was just in tears. It was the week before Thanksgiving holidays.  When I asked him what was wrong, he told me (I will nutshell it for you) that he had already given his parents the only thing he had that was able to be pawned to pay for previous heat in the house. They were very short on food and ate two meals a day at school. The parents were unemployed at that time and receiving public assistance to the max for their household, which consisted of four children and two adults. He was not concerned about his x-box thing-y. He was concerned about how his family would eat during that entire week from school. A little much for his shoulders, don't ya think? By the way, he was still in grade school and he was the oldest child. He was at the end of his little rope. 

Of course, the school was already in advisement of that situation (and that was not the only family going through a hardship). Good people everywhere do what they can, when they can. Some times people and places become tapped out! 

Back long ago, in that very classroom with the concerned child, there also lived a student who knew to ask about the Santa list and the clothing closet. His absolute disdain was shown in a violent outburst when he realized that his mother had misrepresented the family's situation on the application; thus resulting in a denial. He was ticked at his mother, but more so at the school. This boy, too, was in grade school.  In addition, he was also the youngest of several children. He grew up with the thinking he with which he acted. Needless to say, this child did receive and made quite a haul for Christmas. More than I could have afforded with my teacher's salary. 

Now, these fellas were floating around in my mind this morning after I heard a young, married mother mention her desire to apply for the program Toys for Tots.  Knowing the young lady, I just about choked on my tongue keeping it in check. She also is receiving and doing so aloud material items of fair value...thus leaving the money a bit short for the child's toys. Tongue, bitten through!

Deep down, I know what the premise is of the program. So I JFG'dI (thank you Monique) and found the above link.  What began in 1947, as a way to provide for needy children, The Marine Corp used their own to collect, mend and distribute toys to children. (Under the definition of needy, came the term "poverty-stricken." which led me to destitute, meaning lacking in possessions and resources.) 

Well as the years went along, The Marines changed the toys from used to new and here is the reason:
"From Christmas 1980 through the present, Marines have collected and distributed only new toys.  Three factors dictated this change.  First, the Secretary of Defense’s Total Force Program, introduced in the 1970’s, assigned Reserves a greater role in America’s defense posture.  As a consequence, Reservists had to dedicate every minute of weekend drill time to honing and polishing combat skills.  No time was available to refurbish toys.  Second, public awareness of the health and safety aspects of toys that developed during the ‘70s made distribution of used toys legally inadvisable.  Third, distributing “hand me down” toys does not send the message Marines want to send to needy children.  The goal is to deliver a message of hope, which will assist in building self-esteem and, in turn, motivate less fortunate children to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.  A shiny new toy is the best means of accomplishing this goal." (from

If the intent to motivate children into productive and responsible citizens, a sense of gratitude must be instilled. However gratitude, and how to show it, comes from the family home (a family home can be made of more or less parents and more or less children). My concern is that the parent I heard make the remark about applying for the program is not in need, not destitute, and the child does not go without...AT ALL. The child has many grandparents and receives many things throughout the year. My concern is that the thought process of the parent that material things are owed to her will be passed on to her child. This is where possible good intentions for giving goes sour. 

I do not wish to become sour. And, I use this post to vent during my renovation process today. I have learned that I still need to give of myself, to and for those in need. If I what I give in material form is misused by the receiver, that is between that person and God. 

My lesson, let go..let God. Go sit in the pink chair and meditate to hear what God wants of me. If any time I am to give of self, do so willingly. However, do not give more of self (physically, emotionally, or financially) than possible; especially when that giving would take me through the gates of hell. I may go with another right up to the gates, but never through the gates. I am grateful for the learning which took place today and for the friends who responded with input.

I encourage the giving of self, please continue to so in the spirit which God intended. Don't let the users in the world destroy His good work. There will always be a child who worries about the next meal, the heat in the home, and the roof over his head. When I reach out, I show that child how to be a caring responsible part of society. And I shall model gratitude.

The other child has another road on which to travel and it is not my job to fix it. I may make connections and do what I feel is the right thing. When I act the fixer, I rob that child/person of the learning experience into which s/he is headed, and I make a mountain of resentments for me.

Brighter thoughts tomorrow! Thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment