Yesterday the May Queen received a pack of Halloween stickers from my parents. They sent a box of goodies to the house a few weeks ago and asked me to give them to The May Queen... one a day... leading up to Halloween. The May Queen looks forward to her "surprises" every day. I think my parents buy these things when they are on super clearance after the previous holiday (I learned this trick from my mom, every time I get out the decorations for a holiday it's a surprise to pull out the stuff I bought for dirt cheap and stuck in a box for next year!). Yesterday's treat was a pack of several small sheets of stickers designed to pass out instead of candy. The May Queen squealed in delight, and then immediately said "I don't need all of these. Can I give some to my friends?" "Of course," I replied, thinking she'd take a couple of sheets over to the girls next door. But The May Queen had bigger plans. She wanted to share her wealth with all her friends in the neighborhood. So we put them in the basket of her bike and rode around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and surprising her friends with a small treat. It was like reverse trick or treating!
It gave the May Queen such delight, and really touched my heart to see her relishing the joy of giving. And what a simple but true assertion: "I don't need all of these. Can I give some to my friends?"
It's such a simple attitude of giving that I wish I felt more often. I can tend to be a bit greedy with my things, whether it be the french fries on my plate or the dollars in my pocket. I don't always like sharing. I've always donated regularly to my church, 10 percent just as I was taught as a child. When I donate used clothes and other items I always take them to a local agency that I know does fabulous work for families in need in our area (I also then always take a few minutes to browse their thrift shop and never fail to walk out with a few treasures... and tell myself it's not shopping since the money all goes back to the agency!). I often look around my home and think how I have so much while others have so little (and, I am ashamed to admit, I often ALSO look around my house and wish I had more of what others have). When The May Queen wanted to share her stickers I even patted myself on the back a bit, thinking that perhaps the food I have been sending in to school with her every day for the local food pantry has made her think about sharing. Rather than sending in a bag of all the food I bought all at once, I spread it out over a week, so that she would have the opportunity to give repeatedly, and I would have the chance to tell her, repeatedly, why we do it.
Yet my giving is sort of preprogrammed. I believe in it, certainly, and have been well taught. I do have moments where it is just in my heart to give. Yet I often have a feeling of scarcity, that I won't have enough. I worry a lot about finances, which are always very tight. I often think "I can be more generous when I have more money." But I KNOW that what I have is bountiful. I know that I am called to share what I have. I know that we are meant to take care of each other. And those moments when my heart is ready to give without a second thought? I would like to cultivate that feeling more often, so that it is my first response. So that when I see someone in need, my first response is "how can I help?" So that when I have a windfall of stickers, I think "who can I share these with?"
Besides being inspired by my lovely daughter, this post was also inspired by Jen M at Get in the Car!, who dedicates each Thursday to a post on Philanthropy. Her thought provoking post today is well worth the click over there. Also, Mary Alice at From the Frontlines has a fun idea of how to turn Trick or Treating into a philanthropic activity.