When there’s so much good to give to…
– Ryan James Ross
Kids know stuff — and sometimes their clarity is profound.
We sat with some elementary aged kids in a park last week at [Good]life (our Uncommon youth ministry) and asked them some questions.
After hearing some stories about their October Halloween costumes, what they did with their families, and how much candy they all got, we then asked what they thought November was all about…
“November is about being thankful and giving thanks.”
“November is about giving to others too, like groceries…”
“…because after Thanksgiving we get presents!”
It was such a funny moment leading to a conversation about gratitude!
It was clarity about our season from a kids perspective:
Thanksgiving can merely be a polite onramp to Christmas consumer time.
First we give thanks, then we eat (a lot), and next we rest up for shopping on Black Friday. Somewhere in there, your family has figure out when they’re going to decorate for Christmas since all the stores jumped straight to it on November 1!
Being grateful for all the good in our lives can so easily get squished by meal preparation, Holiday to-do lists, Christmas shopping, and of course your day-job doesn’t slow down for any of it.
History moment here —
Something happened just seven years ago that deeply impacts your November (and the amount of phone calls and non-profit mail you get stuffed in your inbox and mailbox).
On a cold winter day in New York,Giving Tuesdaywas started in 2012 as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). It is always on the Tuesday that follows Thanksgiving.
In the great annual storm of buying a lot of stuff, a simple idea was put forth about a day of goodness to partner with the heart of Thanksgiving: Giving Tuesday is a day that encourages people to do good and give to good.Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, to go out and do good things, and to celebrate generosity.
And, it’s a HUGE day for non-profits, churches, and charities to remind you that you can give to them and support all the good that they do in the world. This gets you a load of emails about giving (we recognize the irony ; ), and it makes it really hard to hear actual news on KPBS because of the giving campaigns.
All the noise about giving right now can be overwhelming and guilt inducing. We are asked to give at every cash register and even at the doors to our grocery stores. And, with so many good options, here is the hard question for so many of us, “What do I actually give to?” and “Does it make a difference?”
Each charity wants to be the one, but here’s what we want to remind you of:
It’s not about choosing one good thingto give to, but mindfully choosing what good you do give to. There are probably several non-profits and causes in your life that really connect with you and that you see great value in — call that your Spectrum of Goodness: It may be severalgreat groups you give to that are really impacting your community and changing the world for the better.
Rather than get paralyzed by the noiseof Giving Tuesday and all the requests for your generosity at the end of the year, here are a few questions that can help aim your generosity and help you feel really good about how you support awesome organizations in this world.
- Does their purpose spark your heart? — When you hear about what they do and why they do it, does your heart resonate and ‘come to life’? When you hear about their cause, does it feel like your soul says, “oooh… that’s really valuable and good!!!” If your heart and soul get sparked by that organization and their mission… then give to that color because it’s on your spectrum! Does something break your heart in this world and you see some non-profit doing something about that? Then give to that, because it sparks your heart.
- Do they personally impact me and/or my loved ones? — There is so much good in the world, but you can only give to so much, so give to what personally impacts you because that is part of your unique story in the world. If your loved one has been impacted by a medical condition, give to that research. If you have been blessed by a community organization and what they do for you, give to them. If you are connected daily or weekly with a non-profit that benefits your community, give to them. Give to what you actually see and feel impact from, because that color is on your spectrum.
- Can I actually DO good WITH them?— More than just sending a a check, can you actually “in the flesh” be a part of what that organization does? If you can physically sit with them, pack food for the hungry with them, heal the sick with them, do good things in the community with them… then give to and get involved with thatorganization, because you are actually a beautiful color in theirspectrum!
Here’s the deal— Generosity is really spiritual… it’s a soul thing.
I deeply believe that God guides our hearts, minds, and souls with what good things we can give to in this world. Our job is to listen, and then give and get involved. As you give to non-profits, churches, ministries, charities, and causes in this world, you enhance their beauty and impact of their color! That is your personal Spectrum of Goodness, and it’s unique and beautiful. The person next to you has a different spectrum, and it’s beautiful too… and thank God that you’re colors are different… because we all can’t give to everything. In fact, when we give a tiny bit to everything, we can actually have very little impact — It’s better to aim well at our Spectrum.
Here’s a cool challenge:In addition to your personal spectrum, maybe your family could have a spectrum of goodness that you all determine to give to together— like a family mission statement that clarifies what good things you support in your community and in your lives. That’d be awesome, and it could help your children develop hearts of compassion and minds that see intentional goodness and generosity… and they get to see exactly what good things they contribute to in the world!
Perhaps Uncommon [good] is part of your spectrum of goodness – we’d love if you took a few minutes to watch this video and consider helping us keep the good going…
If you’d like to help create more stories like this, please consider giving online. Or check out the other ways to give on our giving pageGIVE to the GOOD