It is my belief that every person has something to give. And that whatever we can give, we should. Nobody is too small, too young, or too poor to make a difference.
Sure, some of us have more than others – more money, more time, more life experience, more patience, more natural optimism, more resources, more education, more whatever. But I think the power in giving is symbolic – often the power is not exactly in what is given, but in what it means to have been given to.
Let me share a story to illustrate.
The year was 2007 and I was living and working in an orphanage in El Salvador. I worked with around 450 children between the ages of 1 and 20 years old. Each young soul had suffered great loss. Many had suffered terrible indecencies. These children had nothing of their own – they relied solely on the kindness of others.
Once a year, in the month of their birthday, each child received a small gift of around $5. This precious gift was just for them and they were allowed to spend it on whatever their heart desired.
One day I accompanied some children for their birthday shopping spree. Each was so excited and eagerly filled up little goody bags of sweets and toys at the market.
After the shopping frenzy was over we were waiting in Santa Ana’s central plaza for the bus. As we waited a homeless man shuffled by and I struck up a conversation with him. His name was Epa and his story was very sad. As we spoke I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the children were watching me thoughtfully.
Just as we were leaving a small child approached Epa and offered up an apple from their shopping trip. Soon more children offered gifts – sweets, yoghurt, and other treats. Epa stood awestruck with tears streaming down his cheeks.
The gifts were small but, coming from children with so little, the message was powerful. The children’s kindness spoke clearly to Epa – “we are with you, brother”, their actions said.
I’ll never forget how proud I was of my young friends that day. I have known many generous and kind people who have done great things for the benefit of strangers. Yet, for me, this was the greatest act of kindness I ever witnessed.
A destitute orphan offering to share their one precious gift with a stranger in need. That is true generosity.
Remember, you may be small or young or poor or busy… yet there is something you can give. Today, think what you can give that someone else needs and give it away with all your heart. Perhaps you will touch a soul the way my children touched Epa’s that day. If you’re lucky the experience will touch your soul too.
** Today’s post was written for a guest post on Louise Gallagher’s excellent blog A Year Of Making A Difference – check out her thoughtful posts about making a difference and how together we can make this world a better place**