Ebenezer Scrooge begins with a "Bah humbug!" He is both unhappy and miserable. As the story unfolds, he eventually discovers the "givers glow". He is dancing on the streets in the enduring joy of his new found generosity of heart. Give and grow, give and glow. Scrooge discovered this at last. Simply put, helping others helps the helper. Research tells us that one of the best ways to get rid of anger and grief is to actively help others. Giving help to others measurably reduces the giver's stress; improves health and well-being in surprising and powerful ways; renews our optimism about what is possible; helps us connect to family, friends, and lots of amazing people; allows the deep, profound joy of our humanity to flow through us and out into the world; and improves our sense of self-worth. These are valuable gifts anytime, and particularly in hard times. If there is one great secret to life, this is it.
Eventually, of course, everyone stumbles on hard times. Today, even those who had considered themselves protected from hardship are being touched and their lives changed by volatile economic markets, job uncertainty, and the economy.
Think of it this way – you, your wife, your husband, your loved ones, your in laws, your family members and friends probably already have everything they want or need. So giving to others is a great way to share the fortunate things that have happened in your life. This year I really wanted to do something to help others so I reached out to Special Olympics to see if I could find some kids that needed it more than me and my family! Below is an email I received from a coach for Special Olympics who is also a Special Education Teacher.
"We want to THANK your family for choosing to make this Christmas VERY Special for our athletes/students!!!
The 5 children we've selected are students in my Special Education classroom at North Grade Elementary School in Lake Worth.
German is an 11 year old who competes in Bowling, Basketball (3 on 3 Howard Hoopsters) and Track & Field (shot put & running long jump). His family is from Guatemala. He lives with his mom, dad, a 14 year old brother, a 2 year old sister and several members of his extended family.
Kevin is a 10 year old who is competing in basketball for the first time. His family is from Haiti. He lives with his mom and several members of his extended family.
Aaron is a 10 year old who is also competing in basketball for the first time. His family is from Cuba. He lives with his mom and his grandparents.
Kathy is a 10 year old who competes in Bowling and Track & Field (softball throw and 50 meter run). Kathy's family is from Mexico. She lives with her mom, and 3 brothers (16, 13 and 6).
Gregory is an 8 year old who competed in Bowling and currently is on our Basketball Team. Gregory's family is from Haiti. He lives with his dad, 2 brothers (6 & 3)and a sister (one year old).
Hopefully, this email helps you put faces with names as well as giving you a little information about each family.
Once again thank you so very much."
So my wife, my parents and I went to Toys R Us one evening before Christmas with the kids and bought them presents using the money I would have spent on my own kids and/or family and friends. We also gave each family a Publix gift card. I felt the glow of giving in an extreme way as each of the kids ran through the aisles of Toys R Us and cried with joy. Here is the email I got back from them this moring:
"It was so nice to meet your wonderful family tonight. Thank you so much for giving our kids a Christmas they will never forget!!! I can't wait to hear them tell their classmates about their shopping trip to Toys R Us!
Kathy wanted me to wrap the Barbies and the Mickey Mouse for her brother so he doesn't see what she got him as she used some of her money to buy her brother something as he is not going to get anything for Christmas. She took the baby doll inside with her.
German took one of the Beyblades home with him and then he's coming over on Saturday to wrap his gifts so he has something to open on Christmas morning.
Gregory's dad was very thankful for the gift-card to Publix. It was great to hear Gregory's younger brother screaming with excitement when Gregory took out his gifts. I'm sure they played with all of his toys tonight.
Aaron couldn't wait to get inside to show his mom his new toys. She was also thankful for the gift-card - they don't typically shop at Publix...so that will be a special treat for them.
Kevin's mom thought she had to reimburse us for the bike...she didn't understand that some one would actually do something so nice for her son.
Have a VERY Merry Christmas!!
Nancy & Michael Howard"
So as we continue a great Holiday week go feel the glow!! Maybe at a soup kitchen, maybe just to listen, maybe just your time given, maybe just a dime in the red kettle Salvation pot, maybe a little something any day of the year.
Happy Holidays – remember you are very fortunate and I hope you feel the glow!