I sat for hours on Friday in what felt like a K-Tel add for children’s music. It was a workshop designed for improving speech and language skills in children through music. While it was informative, I realized my classroom achieves many of those goals doing the same type of thing. There is a lot of spontaneous music in my classroom. For those who know me, I have a song for every occasion. Most of the time is is a variation of a rock tune from my youth with lyrics I enhance for the situation I am in. This workshop sold the music SHE enhanced…once again, here was me wishing I had thought of it first…
For the most part, I felt like sleeping but there was one defining moment of the presentation that gave me pause.
You can’t be a Giver until you learn to receive
I wrote it down and thought about that for the rest of the day. It made quite the impact on me. I know it was meant in the context of young children and turn taking, an important skill that enables children to have back and forth conversations and good social skills. Yes, in many instances it needs to be taught in my class. sometimes the lucky teacher has the child entering the classroom with this skill already developed. This opens the door for new challenges to be had within the classroom experience….but as I pondered this thought, I realized I know many adults who don’t have this skill. Either they lost it along the way of their growth into adulthood, or were never taught this skill as children.
There are many adults who cannot accept a compliment. For example, I could say “Hey Joe, that’s a great piece of writing!” Only to hear denial or deflection of the compliment. At school I teach the children to say “Thank you” after they receive a compliment. It is called politeness or being gracious. This is becoming a lost skill for some reason. Why is it so hard for people to accept or receive a compliment or a gift? Do these people deem themselves as unworthy or undeserving? It is not to say that people who deflect kindness and compliments are not generous, because they are! There was just a step missing in their life that deny the Givers pleasure of being kind to them. This is so incredibly sad!
As a child I was always shown by example of what it is like to give. I was witness to many acts of kindness but am unable to speak of them. I was taught the giver does not give for accolades but for the shear experience of kindness. I have witnessed strangers being given rides to the hospital, boxes of food left on doorsteps, empty table settings being filled by strangers. My Grandparents often told me the story of my Great Grandmother during the depression, or the dirty 30’s. Hobo’s would come to the my Great Grandma’s door and she ALWAYS gave them food. Why you ask? She claimed you never knew if it was Christ or not. She wanted to be sure. For me, that is not the reason to give….just in case. I’m sure it wasn’t her intent either – just a “thing” you say when people are asking why you are being so charitable during a time when money and food was so tight. It made people think.
I also know people who are so tight fisted they will sell you things they don’t need before the thought occurred to them to give it away. I can clearly see the difference between those two types of people. The Givers lives are full and rich. They have more kindness and love in their life than others. Good things just “happen” for them all because – I believe – they are kind and thoughtful first.
The Keepers seem to me to have a dark cloud that sits over their life. Nothing seems to go right and there is always one thing after another that seems to go wrong – from health to money.
The Givers learned at some point in their life, what it is like to receive a gift so special and thoughtful, they strive for eternity to keep paying it forward.
This past week I talked about socks. The response from the Givers has been overwhelming and I must say a special Thank You to all of you who have send me socks and other incredible items for my students! We are so grateful, I cannot fully express it. Since I was taught to be a Receiver before I became a Giver, I simply say Thank You from the bottom of my heart. Know that your gift is very much appreciated and will go to great use!
So tell me…are you a Giver or a Keeper?