Part 3 …. Giving and Materialism
When we give, do we gift to others what would be useful to them? Do we pass on to them the gifts that we received but for which we have no use, knowing full well that they too will have no use for them? Do we give gifts just because we have to fulfill a social obligation? Or worse, do we give so that we can show off our status and wealth? And even worse: do we give so that we can outdo one another?
These are indeed sad reasons for giving. They will not bring the giver and the receiver any closer together. Gift giving must serve as a means of strengthening your relationship with the receiver. Sometimes it is the simplest gift that can be the most precious. When Mahatma Gandhi heard about the engagement of Prince Phillip to Princess Elizabeth, he sat down and spun them a tablecloth. When the Queen received this simple gift, she was so touched, it is said she locked it up with the crown jewels!
Our annual religious celebrations are great days to give gifts. But do not wait for these special days to show you care. If you see something that is absolutely suitable for someone, or that someone would love to have, or something that he / she has been looking for since a long time, then just go ahead and buy it for them! And then see the joy light up their face when they receive this unexpected gift! So you will experience double joy: the joy of giving and the joy of making someone happy!
One of the most precious memories that stick out in Lalita’s (name changed) mind is when her family of four had just shifted into a residential estate, is that of a neighbour knocking on her door the first evening to deliver some homemade pizzas! So touched was she by this gift, that even 20 years later she cannot recall the event without tears of joy and gratitude in her eyes! The contents of the gift, the pizzas are not important. She does not remember much about what the pizzas looked like or what toppings they had! What she remembers with clarity, is what the act made her feel! She has gone onto repeating the same act of generosity to other neighbours when they moved into the compound, carrying on the gift giving tradition!
Next week: Giving and Creativity