Q&A - June 9, 2017

Most people like to be generous when they can and enjoy helping others who are in need or otherwise deserving. It’s strange, but when you give generously to others, you never seem to feel depleted—more often, you feel rewarded. It’s nice to receive an enthusiastic response from the recipient of your generosity, but the true reward is the gratification you feel inside when you give to others. Regardless of the recipient’s knowledge or reaction, being generous makes us feel better about ourselves as human beings. This week, let’s explore some ways to exercise our generosity.

Q:I don’t have a lot of money, but I’ve been blessed in my life and would like to give back to others. What can I do to make a difference in this community?

Generous people are the ones who “make a difference” in any community, but you don’t have to be rich to be generous. When we think about big donors or contributors, we usually focus on the size of the check, but the affluent givers have no monopoly on generosity. Every person has something of worth to share, and every gift (no matter how large or how small) can have a meaningful impact.

I have known many big-hearted people who didn’t necessarily have big wallets but never let that stop them from being generous. These are the people who inspire others and make the biggest difference in their communities. With a little practice, you can become one of these special people. You can find plenty of opportunities to help a friend, neighbor, or charity. It’s not always obvious, so here are a dozen ideas to get you started…

  1. Schedule an hour every week to offer your time helping someone.
  2. Carry a $20 bill in your pocket tomorrow, and look for an opportunity to give it away.
  3. Sell something you own, and donate the proceeds to charity.
  4. Pay for the person’s order in the car behind you in the drive thru.
  5. Join a charitable organization, and become active.
  6. Babysit for friends so they can have a date night.
  7. Give away a personal belonging to someone in need.
  8. Think of something you do well, and offer your services to the charity of your choice.
  9. Befriend a shut-in, and offer them a ride to the doctor.
  10. Pay for someone’s groceries.
  11. Tip a server more than the price of the meal or service.
  12. Save up your spare pocket change for a year for a charitable donation.

There are countless ways to be generous. With just a little thought, you can find many ways to help those around you and make a difference in the lives of others. With all the problems in the world, our simple acts of charity are some of the best ways to prove that love still exists. When we display generosity, it inspires hope in humanity and makes our community a better place to live.

Okmulgee is made up of many big-hearted and thoughtful people. Please keep your questions and comments coming. They are always welcome at osuit-president@okstate.edu.