Lessons in giving from Grandma and Grandpa

Recently I took Grandma to lunch. I love my Grandma. So much wisdom to share but she doesn’t force it, she lets you come around and realize it. I’ve learned a ton from her but this lunch took the cake, er – it was apple pie. This time we talked about giving (go figure) and again, she didn’t disappoint.Gobble gobble.

1. Give people what they need

There are a lot of people and organizations whose philanthropic premise is based on giving people what they THINK those people want or need. Grandma shared that she and grandpa made friends with the local tailor and would occasionally leave him a little extra money to make sure the next kid getting married, but with no cash, could have a nice suit for his wedding.

2. Work with others to problem solve

Similar to how a lot of small towns work, there were 3 or 4 couples in town that would keep in touch, quietly listening for when/where people needed help.  Then, at coffee (you know, the group of older folks that meet for coffee at 6am on Saturdays) they’d talk about what they were going to do for this family or that family. And it was always done quietly, without attention for the giver, or the receiver – ever conscious of the dynamics and pride involved.

3. It’s ok to give to people, not organizations.

Some of the best ‘giving’ they ever did, was not through organizations.

4. A gift is a gift – no strings attached

Today’s philanthropy could learn a lot.

5. Pay it forward and pass it down

Their parents modeled this type of giving, and now I know where my folks got it.

6. Everybody has something to offer someone else. If you need help, ask. If you have something to share, listen carefully – someone needs it.

my first driving lesson

Grandpa farmed. And, like most farmers, had some tough years once in a while.  In those tough times, people helped him and repaid the favor later.  Never to proud too ask, or share.

7. Giving is a lifestyle choice. Commit and don’t look back.

What do you think? Who taught you to give? How do you think giving has changed?

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