The spirit of giving

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She gave me a cardboard box with apples
To use when there were storms about
Because my cart it got knocked over
And she didn't think I should have to go without

This year has been a year of growth and reflection for me. Spending a quiet year in the cottage, thinking about life and where mine is going; relationships and personalities; who I am and who I want to be. Part of the growth was a personal dedication to helping people less fortunate than myself. Where I don't have money to give, I do have time, ability, intelligence and willingness. In a first big step towards this goal, I have today completed a run through Canberra suburbs to distribute toys, clothes, shoes and other bits and pieces that I have decided we can live without. T and I took a cardboard box full of grocery items in to her day care centre on Monday to be given to charity, and I have contacted the Salvation Army about helping out with Christmas hamper packing and delivery. I also intend to put a present under the Wishing Tree - with T's help of course.

Which brings me to the main thing. All this giving is obviously good for the charities we're supporting, and it gives me a lovely rosy glow about having done something to help out those people who struggle around this time of year. But the really important thing, to me anyway, is the opportunities it gives me to talk to T about what we're doing. She's old enough to understand the concept of "making people happy" and I think it's important to teach her that we make people happy in ways other than blindly throwing money at them. Naturally sometimes it's money that's needed, but crying poor is no excuse for not giving, for not helping, or for pretending that you are more important than anybody else on this planet.

This year, I'm making an effort to give more than I receive, to make more than I buy, and to recycle more than I throw away. It isn't just a gift for now, this year, but a gift to our children, and their future.


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