"Ann Frank once remarked that 'No one has ever become poor by giving.' How true this is. The nicest people I have ever met are invariably those folk who give as a natural way of life. They give the best of themselves by giving their consideration, their good will, their prayers and their time. Giving money is, of course, helpful to alleviating pain and distress, but amassing money at the expense of these other valuable gifts we have in our power to offer costs too much in the end.
In fact, the best lesson that our children receive from teachers at school today is that it is only through the act of giving that one can become the good people we were meant to be. Let us renew our 'giving' resolution and start by giving more of the most precious asset we possess; ourselves, our prayers, our time, and then our money, for as it says in the Bible, 'it is in giving that we receive'.
Having been happy in my development and always feeling loved has no doubt contributed immeasurably to my emotional stability as an adult. Being part of a large family and seeing my mother pay for this week's family provisions with next week's unearned wages of my father left me determined not to go into debt as an adult. With the intention of making life materially easier for my children, I made the common mistake of many parents by thinking the possession of things to be important to one's sense of well-being.
It took me many years and I was well into my forties before I truly realised the essence of feeling safe. Essentially, this insight led me to understand that the best things in life are never things! Having a good job was important to providing comfort and satisfaction in my life, but as Winston Churchill once remarked, 'We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.'
My late mother was one of the most generous people I ever knew and she would, and often did, willingly give people less needy than herself her last penny. One of her sayings was, 'It is the heart that gives; the fingers only let go.' In her own easy way, mum was simply telling me what Mahatma Gandhi meant when he expounded the belief that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Over thirty years of involving myself in charitable work in the Kirklees Community, I was constantly amazed by the generosity of the materially poorest people who gave themselves and their talents as well as their monetary offerings at every opportunity. I would never have believed that there are so many angels in this world who walk around wearing the disguises of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the benefit of others. I was recently informed that the Huddersfield Examiner has nominated me as a finalist in the Community Awards Ceremony that is being held when I am on holiday. My two sisters, Mary and Eileen have agreed to attend the presentation award dinner in my stead (they say they are doing it for their lovely brother but I strongly suspect that the top-notch free meal has something to do with their willing involvement to act as stand-ins).
Anyway, my point is this; even were I to win the community award, I could only accept it on behalf of hundreds of 'behind the scenes' individuals, without whom anything I ever achieved on behalf of the Kirklees Community, would not have happened. They are the real people who deserve recognition over and above myself. In the grand scale of things, I was simply the 'front-person'.
So, whatever your circumstances happen to be, never forget that no one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another. Also, none of us born into this world should ever feel the burden of responsibility of saving it by doing 'everything' Our purpose is simply to do 'something' good for the benefit of others!
Sometimes this involves, as a parent particularly, doing things today that will benefit our children tomorrow and in their future lives. In doing this, parents are merely planting trees of life, under whose shade they may never sit and watch their children grow into adults and senior citizens.
In the latter years of my life, I have derived great pleasure in learning to give away more of my possessions and myself while I still am able to draw breath to be able to do so. The best thing to do with the best things in life you possess is to give them away, as good things become better things in the passing of one to another." William Forde: May 18th, 2018.