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Episode 2 | Generous

Updated: Mar 31, 2020


 

Season One | Episode 2

 

This is an opportunity to connect our actions to feelings. It's really not about what we do, it's about how it makes us feel. We want our young people to be selfless, and that takes a bit of work. Who am I kidding? It takes ALOT of work.


This week we are digging into the concept of being generous and planting the seed so that kids feel the love of giving, have a deep memory and experience so that they want to keep doing it... being a generous person.


Children all naturally have the desire to please and along the way that can get tainted if the trusted adults in their lives don't intentionally foster this innate desire. That takes some work identifying what we value and being specific with our kids around those interactions where we sacrifice what we value for others.


When we get in the habit of speaking about the actions of young people, we tell them what they did and so apply the vocabulary to it. One step further is to open up the conversation to consider how the other person felt. This is the kicker…we have to be overwhelming positive when we do this. Name this as often as possible but with great detail for kids...

"Wow, you gave that last piece of candy to your friend, that was truly generous of you. Was that hard to do? How did it make you feel to share in that way with your friend?"


When I was thinking about this, I realized how typical it is to only consider others' feelings in a negative connotation in a reactive context. Often we only ask that others consider the feelings of others if they feel we are wrong in some way. We then impose that habit on children, saying things like "How do you think your friend felt when you ______ (something not very nice)"


Now, this isn't bad; it is also essential to build empathy and sympathy to consider others. But I want to highlight that we may not be providing enough opportunities on the other side of the coin of communication. The positive side that allows kids to experience the joy and the payoff of their small sacrifice of giving. This is the chance for kids to self-celebrate the joy they brought to someone's life. How often do we ask a child how they think another person felt after they did something generous?


You only give as far as you believe in the value of it yourself. So, if you understand the importance of money for yourself, you are more aware of the magnitude of giving it away. More importantly, if you thought about the value of your time (something that we can't recreate), then you are more aware of the significance of giving your time to someone. Think about how much easier things became for someone else because of their generosity in their time, money, resources, or just straight up kindness.


The funny thing about generosity is that someone always has to be first. The world would stand stagnant if we all only wanted to receive it before we gave.


Another perspective to consider is that generosity doesn't always go as planned, and that is okay. We can't control the outcomes and reactions of others, but if your act of generosity came from a genuine place, then that is something you can walk away from as proud as you walked up to it.


That is the true cost of paying it forward...

 

You will find the Questions to Connections Worksheet for this episode on the word GENEROUS here!

If you are new here, check out our Path to Meaningful Connections resource!

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