Generosity vs. Stinginess

Cheerfully managing resources to give to those in need

Do you remember studying the water cycle in school? Rain and snow fall into a river; the water evaporates from the heat of the sun and forms clouds. The clouds once again release rain or snow upon the earth. The cycle continues to repeat, supplying nourishment for the soil each time the water returns. As each participant in the cycle "gives," the cycle continues. Generosity operates much like the water cycle. Somehow, giving to others frequently brings blessings back to the giver. Generosity is giving from one's own provisions in order to provide for the needs of others.

Limited resources should not discourage generosity. When a generous person discovers a need, that individual takes initiative to find a way to meet that need.

The life of Margaret Haughery serves to illustrate the proper sense of generosity. At the age of 23, after losing her parents, her husband and her child, Margaret found herself living in poverty in New Orleans. She found work as a laundress at the upscale St. Charles Hotel and was surrounded by wealthy guests and luxurious accommodations. Yet out of her laundry room window, Margaret could see the poor of the city.

As she watched others provide food and help to families who could not afford it, she determined that she, too, would do what she could to help the needy of New Orleans. With her meager savings, Margaret purchased two cows and began to sell milk from door to door. One of her regular customers was a bakery that was behind in making payments and when it eventually failed it was turned over to Margaret for back payment. Margaret reopened the bakery and made it profitable. She distributed her bread for free to orphanages and other charities.

While the fruits of Margaret's efforts were expanding, she never forgot what she had seen out of her laundry room window at the St. Charles Hotel. Over the course of her lifetime, Margaret helped found 11 orphanages and several homes for the elderly. Those are the projects that can be counted. Innumerable are the families and children she supported from her income - and her heart.

To encourage generosity at home, you can think about someone who is going through a difficult time and work with your children to offer comfort or help to that individual.

Brought to you by the Four Corners Character Council. Character First! Definitions and information used by permission. Copyright Character Training Institute