A hint of fall is in the air this November. As leaves turn magnificent shades red and gold, and fires blaze and crackle in the fireplace, families will gather for Thanksgiving and the Holidays. Warmth consumes our hearts as our separateness melts away into a comfortable oneness that seems to pervade our autumns. To many, this is the time of the year that embodies the homely qualities of benevolence and support that thrives in heartwarming situations, among relatives, friends, and neighbors.
Since this is Philanthropy Month across the world, I can't resist the idea that this is also the time when charity does seem to thrive best and ideas flourish with new ways to improve our society. This is also the time we examine the possibilities of improving our lives and those lives of the people who live among us – within our communities and in distant lands.
Community Partnerships Now Mean World Partnerships
The task of improving society is not an easy load to bear. The unity of purpose in the world is growing closer every day. As the world becomes homogenized, we as global citizens “own” the well being of others in our own backyard as well as those in remote lands more than ever before - because the domino effect is significant in tying us all together, the smallest act of goodwill can ripple across the world as fast as you can imagine.
Today the many faces of benevolence encompass foundations, individuals, corporations, governments and nonprofits from all over the globe. More than ever, Americans have learned that effective action for those in need must not be limited to small-scale societies and geographical areas. Global well–being is paramount for the world to shine.
The Art of Dialogue Can Encourage Social Engagement
Oftentimes, public engagement can fall outside of our comfort zone. We run so fast today we barely have time to consider issues, events and the consequences of our own behavior or lack of it. Sensational news reporting has caused content to be filled with mumbo jumbo that lacks any true content.
Thoughtful communications skills are needed to teach and carry on dialogue in our sophisticated new world so that we can discuss issues more effectively, politely, and then negotiate to finally resolve issues and problems with shared objectives.
Teaching Our Children
The idea of social responsibility and the search for personal meaning are powerful forces driving benefactors today. But I believe that c ompassionate values and generosity are taught during childhood.
Transmitting altruism effectively through action does espouse empathetic values in the family. Actively guiding and teaching our children to learn the benefits of doing good and sharing will provide results that will live on in their souls for the rest of their lives. Coaching children to learn to be spontaneous do-gooders is a brilliant way to create a total positive societal mood.
Many times over the years I found locals sitting in our local Olmos Pharmacy having lunch – the yardmen, drivers, construction workers, and other folks enjoying the company of their neighborhood friends and good food – I taught my children to secretly pay the cashier for their lunches – with the promise that no one would ever know who their benefactor was. I taught them that no one need to know about this act of kindness – but that being a benefactor was good, and personal.
Picking up the ball, my children later told me after they got their drivers licenses, that as they passed homeless people on the street, they would turn into a fast food drive through, order food, and deliver it back to the person in need. “ We tried to find something healthy for them”, my youngest would say.
Smiling as I heard their stories about their “u-turns for others well being” – I smiled and knew I had passed on my compassionate values…and this was good.
Giving Changes Those Who Give
Transformation can happen when we involve ourselves in the well being of others. Involving ourselves in societal needs can compel us to give more to a hungry child, an elderly soul who is left alone during the holiday season, or a small animal left homeless on the side of the road.
A benevolent impulse, which starts out as a very personal and solitary force, can transform an entire community into an even larger commitment to develop and implement a plan for maintaining an even greater caring society.
People, who choose to share their wealth, talents and time with those in need, should be celebrated. Virtue alone will not feed the poor – decisions and actions that are made with knowledge, compassion, and mutual respect DO feed the poor.
Voluntary personal actions that promote the welfare of humanity are the main agenda. Innovative and heartfelt philanthropy can create a vision and start a ball rolling that will gather the speed to develop plans to make measurable impact in our world.
To recognize the equality of the giver and the receiver is the truest and most splendid partnership and is the ultimate opportunity to cultivate society.