What does it mean to give back?
Today is Mandela Day and it has made me think, and I would like you to join me…
Think about how much you have, no really, take a long hard look at what you have. No matter how much you think you don’t have, how much you think you still want, still need, must have, your friends have more than you, or your family has more than you… take a walk around your house and look at how much you do have.
Then think about those who have less than you, in your neighbourhood, Cape Town, South Africa, the continent, other countries and continents – and, think about the poverty in the world. It is mind boggling how many poor people there are, really really poor. Not your ‘poor’.
Let me give you some examples of my own personal circumstances,
and perhaps you can relate.
We have a rather leaky roof. Every time it rains we have water coming in through a couple of the rooms in our house. Are they bad leaks? Some are when the rain is heavy. We put buckets out and we put them away again when the rains are finished. I could get very upset about this, I used to. Now I think about all those who don’t have rooves over their heads in the rain at all. Those huddled outside, in the freezing cold, getting drenched. I am not getting drenched inside my house. One day we will be able to fix the leaks in our roof. I am so glad we have a roof!
My children’s clothes don’t always fit. Their socks are sometimes impossibly too small, or the sleeves of their tops are too short, or the legs of their pants are no longer reaching their shoes. Children go through growth spurts, you don’t know when it will happen or for how long and then their clothes don’t fit and there isn’t always money to just replace their clothes every month. But, my kids are clothed, they are warm, they go out comfortably dressed every day.
There are things I want to do for myself, like get my hair done, buy new books or shoes, clothing that is in fashion, fancy toiletries or just eat out once in a while. Do I really need these things? No. Would it be nice to have them? Yes, of course. And that is the difference.
Let’s come back to ‘giving back’.
I am a big believer in giving back. Don’t hoard things, don’t keep them for ‘when you will fit into them again one day’. (Ladies, many of us are culprits here.) But, when one day arrives, you will no longer be interested in that old outfit. When you have more money you will be able to afford new things.
When your house gets cluttered, do a spring clean. Give to charities. There are so many out there. Donate to your Church, or a school in need or any organisation in need of help. Go online, find ones that you can help, that you are interested in and help them. They will also appreciate any time you are able to give them doing volunteer work. It is so rewarding.
Start off with donating money if this is easier for you to do, then start tackling those overflowing cupboards in your house. Give away the toys your children no longer play with. Let them help you to clear them out so that they learn to give what they no longer need to the less fortunate too. Donate old bedding, blankets and towels, especially in winter. All non-perishable foods are also so easy to bag and drop-off at a shelter or charity of your choice.
Try the rule of one thing in, one thing out. If this is too much, then do what I do, a massive house clear-out about twice a year, every year. When you have more than enough, then it’s time to give.
Remember, it feels good, to do good!
Visit our Facebook page to see how we spent our 67 minutes contributing towards Mandela Day, as a family.
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