“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead
“Like being taught cabinetry, philanthropy probably needs to be taught,” my very generous friend told me this morning.
He and I were discussing charitable endeavors and I think to a large degree he’s correct. People who were not taught generosity don’t seem to suddenly acquire generous habits later in life – like so many skills and habits adults have.
For example, I remember my mother telling me in my teens why we shopped at the stores in our little town, instead of the big superstores in the neighboring city. “We support the small businesses, ” my mother would tell me. “They keep the money in our town.” At the time, I only wanted to go to the megastores. I was dazzled by the glitz of their displays and the large selection on their shelves.
But today, to the extent that I am able, I try to spend my money locally. My mother’s wisdom shines through many years later.
Does that mean my friend is right? That philanthropy is learned young and isn’t acquired later in life. Is it improbable that anyone would change their giving habits taught from birth? That question has lingered with me throughout the day. And my earth-shattering conclusion is …
… I hope not.
I hope it’s possible to become charitable even if generosity isn’t something we are taught as children. I hope that compassion isn’t forever lost on those that have found little kindness in their lives. I hope that it’s possible to change the culture of giving in a family, a neighborhood, a city, and a world even if a only few people are willing to speak up, act, and say to everyone that generosity is not only important, but essential to our well-being.
Changing the culture of giving may not be possible …
… but I’m still going to keep trying.
Today’s gift of time … Took my daughter to the library. A good place to spend some time.