As Canadians, we have a reputation for giving. We are known for meeting needs when we see them. When I think of how our family gives, it’s really in two ways.
We give widely like most people do. When someone asks, we give what they need or what we have in our pocket at the moment. We don’t really count the cost because we see that someone needs, and that we have, and we simply answer the call.
A friend of mine keeps extra sets of mitts, gloves and tuques in her car. In winter, when she is approached by someone looking for spare change, she will often answer that call and ask, “You look cold—could you use these mitts?” The answer is always yes.
The other way that our family gives is deeply. This involves personal time for a specific purpose.
My wife and my eldest daughter (we have four kids) coach my youngest daughter’s soccer team. It’s not just about the sport, it’s about fostering healthy relationships. It’s about building work ethic, mental toughness, teamwork skills and leadership in the team. Ideally, each season, players grow up a little.
After our game this past Saturday my wife was talking about one of the players on the team. “You know, when she started, she had attitude and was a little lazy. But she’s developed into a real leader. All the girls listen when she speaks and she is inspirational on the field. It’s cool to see how far she’s come.”
Over time, the reward for investing in this group of young people is manifest in helping someone become what they were designed to be in the most positive sense: building confidence, a positive self-image and a desire to succeed.
Is there a community group, church group, or even just a neighbour that needs a deeper gift from you? What are your strengths and how can they apply to the world around you to make a difference? There is no question that meeting the need in front of you is important. Giving more deeply helps the community around you achieve its purpose. The two are different, and both are valuable in their own way.