Giving and Getting

Owner wrote:

Giving, Getting and Gratitude 

During the holidays, our thoughts turned to the three “G”s: giving, getting and gratitude. When we sat down to our Thanksgiving dinner, many of us declared our gratitude for the abundance in our lives. In December, we showed our thanks by giving gifts to those we love.

Here are some ways that families of children with developmental delays and those working with them can make the three G’s special in 2009.  Give:

The Gift of Laughter

My life is full of females. I am working with a several young women on finding their passion, hosting a female exchange student, and just returned from a wonderful visit with my daughter and two-year-old granddaughter. Why would I fit noisy girls into an already full life? Because they are gifts. “My girls” give me the intangibles of laughter and fun. Children of all ages and abilities make us laugh.  Although some days it seems we only give to them, they too give us so much to laugh about. The healing power of laughter cannot be under-estimated. Laughter jogs your insides, releases endorphins and is definitely the best medicine. 

The Gift of Yourself

  • Mentor – Helping someone learn something new, find herself and become self-reliant is of the most rewarding experiences you can have.  The gift of mentoring is almost selfish. I believe that the mentor gets much more than he or she gives.
  • Volunteer – Volunteerism offers so many opportunities. Go to www.volunteermatch.org  to see the range. Even our youngest, most disabled kids can participate. Make volunteering a family tradition. One family I know works in a soup kitchen every Thanksgiving. If your schools require community service hours for graduation, make sure the activity is personally meaningful.

 The Gift of Time 

One of the best gifts we can give is unconditional time. Time is a precious, non-renewable resource, and wasting it can be regrettable. 

  • Spend time, not money – Remember the smells of Christmas cookies, paper mache, and candles burning. These are unforgettable memories that are stored in our senses forever. Give someone a coupon for an hour spent listening or playing a game of checkers. Give a teacher a break by chaperoning a field trip. Give kids a shared activity of their choice without cell phone interruptions. 
  • Wait on Academics – At this time of year educators may ask parents to give a child with delays “the gift of time.”  This aphorism means “wait another year before kindergarten or first grade.” Those who have done it will tell you it is the best decision they ever made!

The Gift of Philanthropy

The Council of Foundations www.thegivingfamily.org  offers a book entitled The Giving Family, by Susan Price, which recounts ways families of all means can instill the value of helping others. With an estimated $12 trillion transferring into baby boomers pockets from their parents’ estates in the next 20 years, family foundations are possible. Price recommends engaging children in giving at an early age by

  • Holding a Family Meeting – Discuss allocation of designated funds and let each family member suggest a favorite charity. Consider the arts, religion, science, drug abuse, hunger, environment, animal welfare or women’s rights.
  • Engaging Grandparents – Ask your parents to collaborate with your children about how they are contributing to their futures.  Offer matching funds for kids’ contributions with money earned from chores and allowances.
  • Using Celebrations – Many young men and women are celebrating their b’nai mitzvahs by collecting money for charity instead of receiving unnecessary trinkets. Creative ideas I had heard about include a sponsored walk around the world, donations to a group providing educational scholarships to needy, bright minority students and an investment club. With the estimated $2,500 spent on gifts, one father leveraged that amount into $500,000. The kids then decided where the money should go.
  • Giving Globally – Although, in general, giving to local agencies make it easier for kids to see results, here is one special international non-profit I love. Heifer International www.heifer.org allows giving families to purchase a gift animal or seedling that helps those less fortunate become self-reliant. For as little as $10, you can choose among ducks, goats, geese, chicks, pigs, honeybees and other animals from Noah’s ark. Last year my daughter gave everyone a share of a Knitting Basket: two llamas and two sheep famous for their income-producing wool.  Over time this gift multiplies to help entire communities break free from the grip of poverty and hopelessness.

 The Gift of Letting Others Give to Us

When we let others give to us and accept their generosity graciously, we give them a gift in return. Thank you all for giving so much to DDR. I am so grateful for all I have learned from you. Your year-end gifts are most appreciated.  Rest assured that we will use them to help families find the best help for their children. Happy New Year!

 

 

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