This I Believe

Riley - Shingle Springs
Entered on May 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I Believe in Generosity

I believe the world lacks genuine generosity. For instance, when people tithe, it is done as a sense of obligation or tradition, and rarely comes from the heart. Big names will donate millions to charities, but not always because they genuinely care, but for the free publicity or tax write offs.

Those who understand what real sacrifice is are few and far between, but their existence is evident because their efforts always make a difference. I hold my grandpa in the highest of regards because he has shown where true generosity comes from.

My grandpa works harder than any person I know. He spent over twenty years serving in the Air Force. Upon retiring he began to raise his family, however his pension was not sufficient so he returned to work. Today he is “retired” but he is still very much active, as he stays busy building new sheds or barns around his house and other random projects. I cannot possibly recall all the things my grandpa has done for me, but the most memorable will never be taken for granted.

When I was younger I wanted a tree house for my birthday. My dad is far from the carpenter my grandpa is, so my grandpa kindly agreed to build one (at the time he was nearly seventy and suffering from severe arthritis). What made this gift so special to me was not the finished house (which I unfortunately hardly used) but the blood and sweat he literally put into it, and the time spent bonding as we worked together. He spent countless hours building, which I’m sure was no easy task for him, but he did it cheerfully because he truly loved and cared for me.

Also thanks to my grandpa’s generosity, I am able to attend college. As much of an aversion I have always had towards hard work, my grandpa has taught me its importance. He encouraged me to go to college and selflessly paid for a part of it. This is genuine generosity, as he has no legal or contractual obligation to do so, but only his desire to see me be successful. His gifts are ones that come from the heart, and thus never come back feeling stale.

The true gift of giving can only be realized when the motive is genuine. In my grandpa’s case, his generosity is not only appreciated, but also gives himself a sense well being as he loves doing all that he can for those he loves. If this were a more common occurrence, those who chose to tithe wouldn’t feel burdened by sacrifice but glad to be giving back to something that does so much for them. There is no end to this issue, but those who find the value of true generosity will reap its benefits.