content='index,follow' name='robots'/> Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom: Giving and Receiving

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Giving and Receiving

I touched on this topic last weekend with some of the residents at Morningstar Assisted Living when we talked about “Generosity”.
Down through the years, there have always been people giving and people receiving but the quality of how we give and receive has changed. Also, our attitudes and the value we place on what we give has changed. Perhaps, today, because we live in a culture where products are mass produced, we’re used to getting what we want instantaneously and in the process we lose some of the appreciation.

In the past, the carpenter or cabinet maker that honed their craft and built each item by hand were unique in their style. It took weeks, sometimes months, before it was completed. When it was finished, it was a piece of art. There was no piece exactly alike and the craftsmanship and labor that went into those pieces were greatly appreciated because of the work that was put into it. When you gave or received a gift like this, the attitude was different. You knew what it took to construct that piece and it wasn’t taken lightly.

Today, we have so many choices and very little consideration is taken into the expertise of the craftsmanship. Yes, we want to buy quality work and you can tell by inspection if the work is good or poor but that’s usually where it ends. It’s not just in how we buy our gifts today that is different; it’s that we’ve lost the appreciation or value of these gifts. There’s no way we’d be able to supply the demand if mass production didn’t come into play but something has changed down through the years in why we give and how. We have a shopping list and we check it off as we purchase the items. It’s more of how much I accomplished: with that job now being out of the way – onto what else do I have to do. I know. I’m shopping at Christmas. It can be a horrendous undertaking. What I’m talking about is our attitude with how and what we’re giving….and receiving. There are two sides and I’ve just talked about the giving side. It needs to be balanced.

Don’t you know how excited you get when you’ve found that perfect gift you know your sister or brother will love? It makes you feel good and you can’t wait to give it to them. You watch as they take the package and you anxiously wait as they tear it open. It’s pure joy not only for them but for you. It’s also pure joy for the person receiving that gift and seeing you beam as they open it. They are just as blessed. This is the art of receiving and it is just as important. I would venture to say that for most of us it’s easier to give than to receive. I wonder why that is. Perhaps, it’s a sense of humility or a reflection of self worth. I don’t know but I’ll be noting my reactions. (I’m still thinking about this on a personal note.) But no matter what, how expensive or how large the gift, it’s the spirit and attitude of which it was both given and received - the love that was exchanged. We can teach our children these attitudes by helping them shop or make gifts to give during Christmas and on special occasions throughout the year. Then, they can also learn the spirit of giving not just receiving. They seem to have that receiving thing down pat.

Enjoy this holiday season and take note of the attitudes you place on giving and receiving this year. It will enhance and bless the spirit of the season even more.

From the kitchen table - Pat
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