My mom and dad married in 1945. He was 20 and she 17 years old. They managed to scrape up enough to buy a small farm: a few cows, chickens, pigs, and dirt for growing mixed grains. They had to borrow machinery from my grandpa to seed and they lived in a beat up old wood shingle shack. They of course had no power or indoor utilities …only a well and an outhouse. Most of all they were cash poor. Until they could get harvest money in the late fall, any cash came from selling milk, cream, and eggs. As a result they lived mostly on credit with merchants in the closest town, hoping to pay up after selling the crops. They often had less than a dollar in cash in the house after spending what little they had. One day a soldier, a world war two amputee, came to the door begging for help. He had 5 children and to my mom appeared desperate. He asked her if she could give him any money. So accepting the situation at face value, she went into the house and came back with 50 cents of the 53 cents they had left in their savings jar. She’s not sure why they kept the 3 cents, but as the poor veteran limped away down the drive way back to the main road, she recalls dad and her holding hands in the kitchen giggling. Perhaps generosity does that; it just promotes well being. They had almost nothing but gave almost everything they could.
My mom and dad were never materially rich but they never wanted for anything in life. More importantly they lived a life of contentment. And I believe that much of that contentment came from their abundant approach to life.
What I find interesting when I observe people at work is that no one is really asking them for their last 50 cents. So why be stingy with time and caring for team members? Why not give that little extra information? Take those extra few steps? Ask those few extra questions for understanding? Give that little bit of recognition?
Character Move: look at team members with a new sense of generosity. Think of going to the savings jar and realize it is always full. We have a never ending fund of generosity. It is possible to constantly give and never go “broke.” And the compounded interest we get is the well being and gratification of helping others.
Give 50 cents in the triangle,