“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
— Anne Frank
Many young children have a generous spirit, often nurtured by a parent or loved one. It is a quality worth emulating.
My mother once told me the story of a young girl she came to know, maybe six or seven years old, raised by her grandmother who lived in a little home in Central Florida. They lived on a fixed income, and money was tight. Occasionally, one of the little girl’s friends would spend the night.
“We don’t have much,” the little girl told my mother, “but we share what we have.”
My mother smiled when she told me that story. She guessed the little girl was repeating what her grandmother had told her.
While I try to teach our young daughter the importance of sharing, it’s most rewarding to see her learn the joy of generosity on her own.
By age five, our daughter had collected more than 60 stuffed animals and teddy bears. Around Christmastime, I asked if she’d choose one to donate to a needy child. She methodically sorted through all her dolls and teddy bears – she had named each one – but she didn’t like the idea of parting with any of them. I think she was still processing the concept of giving one of her beloved teddy bears to another child.
Eventually, it sank in: she had dozens of dolls; other children had none. After a little more thought, she handed me a brown teddy bear in excellent condition. Shortly after, I overheard her telling my wife she wanted to donate some clothes she had outgrown.
A year later, without any prompting, my daughter decided to sort through her bears and dolls again. This time, she chose more than 20 to give away. I knew she had learned one of life’s most rewarding lessons: the joy of giving.