The nation we live in has always been labeled as a world of opportunity, a place for advancement and a country that allows you to work hard to move up the ladder. However, this new world of mass technology and materialistic values have consumed our lives. We worry about what we want and need and not what our neighbor may be desperately in need of.
Dictionary.com defines the word selfish as “devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others… .”
We see the rich live happily-ever-after financially, free from worries of not having a place to sleep each night, purchasing multiple cars, and living in the wealthiest homes. The middles-class is not as well-off as the rich but they are striving, working long extra hours to pay their rent and still enjoying their lives by making financial sacrifices.The low-class survive off of government assistance and the homeless have made their living on the streets. This class is the most difficult to examine because this is the reflection of America’s selfishness.
America has always held a reputation of giving. Many charities receive donations from Americans across the nation daily. However, the leading researching organization, Barna Group, states that “41% of all U.S. adults say they have reduced giving to non-profit organizations as a result of the poor economy in the last three months.”
Even then, some have stop giving back because of the scams lead by misleading charitable organizations. Many of these spring up from natural disasters or unexpected events. Some even may be a legit organization but they use the donations they receive for other reasons or expenses (for instance the Second Mile Scandal).
If donating to charities is your ideal way of giving back to the community, make sure you are always on the lookout for scandalous organizations. However, taking a different approach to giving may be more fulfilling for you and the person in need.
I like the story about a man named Reed from Washington, D.C. who lost his job and decided to start a movement in 2009 called the Year of Giving. On his blog, he posts different stories of how he would randomly stop a stranger and give them $10; then he would ask them what would they do with it? He did this every day for 365 days:
“2. GIVE A STRANGER $10
So you’re old school? You want to celebrate the Worldwide Day of Giving by paying forward like I did for 365 days. It’s easy. Find a complete stranger. Approach them and tell them that you are participating in the Worldwide Day of Giving and would like to give them $10. The only rules are that you may not know the person and you may not receive anything in return for the $10 (aside from the rush of goodness you will feel).
Ideally you will take some time to speak with the recipient, find out what they will do with the $10 as well as a little bit about who they are. If you can take a picture or video, that would be even better – we would love to have you post that here.”
I found that using this technique teaches people to not be judgemental, to help complete strangers, and actually become a person who loves to give individually from the goodness of their heart.
On Reed’s blog he informs his reader that,“My goal was not to change the lives of those with whom I come in contact. Let’s face it, $10 dollars is not going to change someone’s life in and of itself. I do believe, however, that the act of giving will hopefully inspire others to pursue the ideals that the French philosopher Auguste Comte envisioned when he coined the term “altruism.”
If we follow Reed’s footsteps and join the cause, we may just be able to help promote generosity from within all scopes of the social class system. This would ignite a domino effect and anyone and everyone would be able to better their lives emotionally and financially. Of course, not all of us will reach the level of being rich or wealthy, but it doesn’t hurt to help someone reach their full potential in life (happiness, love, kindness, hope, determination, contentment etc); whether that’s giving a simple hug, smile, compliment or a $10 bill. Like Reed states, “the specific results are less important than the overall good that we can achieve together.
So, I challenge you to give back to a stranger in a way that you never thought you could! Hopefully your unselfish act will inspire them to help someone else aswell.
© 2012, Jasmine Allen. All rights reserved.