How to Prepare for Spontaneous Generosity
Everyone loves a random act of kindness, but rarely are we prepared when the opportunity presents itself. We see someone in need, but we're already running late or we don't have cash or one thousand other legitimate reasons for why we can't stop and help someone who is hurting. Having a plan helps.
For years, the kids and I have filled an extra bag at the grocery store. We include non-perishables that will withstand a few weeks of riding around in the back of my van. When we see a homeless person or someone in need, we reach back, hand them the bag and say "You matter."
Gift cards are another easy thing to have on hand. I like to have 2 or 3 in my purse at all times. I usually do grocery stores, but sometimes we also choose Subway or another restaurant that is easily accessible. When I'm running from one thing to the next and come across someone who needs a boost, I have no excuse not to pause and recognize the humanity in my path.
Lastly, if you've been following along here for any length of time, you know that I love the power of a separate savings account. I wrote about this in an article titled "OUR SECRET WEAPON" a while back, but the short version is that we do an automatic transfer every month from our checking account to a savings account that is only used for helping others. On the 2nd of the month, after our paychecks come in, $100 gets transferred and we don't touch it until we find a big need that we wouldn't otherwise be able to address. That fund grows and grows until we learn of a family that needs a vehicle repair or help with rent or a new furnace. We love having the ability to address a big need within hours of finding out about it.
I've talked at length about true sacrifice and how it requires something of us, so I don't mean to make it sound like generosity is something that always happens on the fly and just fits into the cracks of our lives. True generosity requires us to be inconvenienced from time to time and that is good. But when it can't be avoided, I hope these ideas help you to weave generosity into the busyness of summer in a way that allows your children and community to see that generosity is a fundamental part of who you are. Generosity is a skill that develops with practice. The world will do an excellent job teaching our kids that they need dozens of glittery things to be happy and that they should prioritize themselves above all else. No one is going to show them the path of humble service and the joy of habitual, mundane, constant, practiced love and generosity unless we do. Grab one of these ideas and put it into practice today!