Okay, like an idiot I realize, “Oh Geez…Maybe I should’ve written a different post…Oh I don’t know…maybe something that had to do with Valentine’s Day!!! Well, I’m a guy so give me some slack! Either way, I wish all of you a sweet Valentine’s Day! So, here goes the post that should’ve been a Valentine’s Day post.
Is giving something that you learn or is it something that is given to you? In otherwords, are you taught to give? I ask myself these questions from time to time. I have a really close friend who is always thinking of others. We could be out somewhere and he just automatically notices others that are in need. It’s like he has a built in radar to know that someone is in distress or in need of some kind of help. I, on the otherhand, don’t notice this at all. Of course, if it’s right in front of my face I do but in the normal course of the day I don’t have that “giving” instinct. I want to “give” whether it’s my time, my money, or my assistance. It’s just not something that comes naturally to me. Of course, I notice when others do it, like my friend. Immediately after I see an act of giving I think of how nice it was. Then I’m overcome with a sense of guilt and depression that I’m not wired that way. So I ask again…is the act of giving something that we’re born with or is it something we’re taught?
The more involved I get with blogging and social media the more I’m presented with products and offers from different companies. Recently I was given a very nice product that I just wasn’t able to use. My first thought was that I would run a promotion or contest either here or on www.LateNightParents.com or on www.DadsTalking.com. My thought was that it would be giving something nice to someone who follows me or one of the other projects I work on. Of course, the benefit for most of these blogs that give away things are the traffic it draws. People love having the opportunity to win something and it’s no surprise that when a site gives away a valuable prize it will draw a lot of attention. I suppose this really begs the definition of “giving”. The reality of the matter is that you’re giving something away (yes, to help someone out) but to generate that traffic in return (in the case of a blog). I’m not saying this is bad. I’ve actually only done one giveaway on DadStreet but that’s not to say I wouldn’t again. I just think we need to be real with ourselves if we’re going to call it “giving”.
This time was a little different for me though. There was someone on Twitter who had been reaching out to me with questions and seeking advice about parenting, etc. I knew that she was giving birth in a few short months. To my knowledge she had no blog, no major following in the way that I would benefit from any publicity. She was just (from what I saw) a really nice person who was about to experience the most amazing thing in the world, a baby. So, I did something very unusual for me. I gave her that product. You must understand. While I feel like I have a good heart and good intentions overall I’m just not Mr. Giving. It’s nothing more than I just don’t “think” about it even though I really wish I did. Well I have to say what I did was a bit infectious. It felt really good!! It made me want to do it again!
I don’t know how O and Jake will be when they grow up. Will they inheret my lack of natural giving? My wife is much more giving than I am as a whole so maybe they’ll get it from her. To be honest I just don’t know. One thing I do know is that I want them to grow up to be giving people. I want them to give in both time, resources, and emotion. I want them to be able to recognize when a legitimate need is there. To know that when there is that need they can quickly assess their ability to help/give and then do so. My wife and I have already started talking about giving away some of their unused toys. Mainly when they get a new toy they would give their older toy to someone else who could use it. We want them to physically give the toy so they’ll experience it themselves. I think starting now when they’re both so young is key.
It’s amazing what gifts I’ve been given just from having O and Jake. Something that I’ve been given is the ability to recognize the things I want to give them that I don’t already have. No, I’m not talking about material possessions. I’m talking about things like the gift of giving. Knowing that it is something that hasn’t been part of my natural make up I need to really incorporate it into my life. I’ve always felt I’ll never be successful of giving O and Jake the tools I want them to have if I don’t already possess them.
To ensure they grow up with the “gift of giving” will not only be the greatest gift I’ve ever received but the greatest gift I’ve ever given.