Opinion: The true meaning of giving

Opinion By Leticia Bodine

YOU SEE, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God. It was never between you and them anyway. – Mother Theresa

“Thank you.” That’s what most would expect to hear after giving something to somebody, but what if the giver gave and the receiver did not know from whom his or her gift came?

What does it truly mean to give anyway? The dictionary would tell us that to give is to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation.

I would say that when most people give something to somebody, they may not be expecting anything in return, but I’ve found that some form of appreciation always is an expected direct response. So in the end, who is the gift for, anyway?

I once was given an assignment to give an anonymous gift to someone, and it was an enlightening experience.

It is one thing to give something to someone and have him or her thank you afterward, but it is a different matter altogether to see or hear of their gratitude, not knowing whom to thank for their new treasure.

This type of giving makes the gift totally for the receiver, and all the giver gets out of it is a sense of knowing that somebody was blessed.

It leaves no room for acknowledgement or recognition for the giver.

Some people do it in a similar way at Christmas time when they draw names and are to get a gift for the person whose name they drew, but they can only address the gift without telling who it is from.

Usually when I am given a gift, I automatically feel the need to get that person something in return, especially if the gift was given to me for no specific occasion. In this case, the gifts tend to go back and forth until, finally, one person stops giving – which is cool, too.

At other times I have been given something and at the time I had no way to pay it back, and all the person asked was that I do the same for someone else when they are in need.

That type of gift-giving, by paying it forward, is intriguing as well, but I must say that there is nothing like giving something to someone anonymously. It makes the gift totally suited to its true definition.

I urge you, if you never have given an anonymous gift, to do so. The outcome is far more rewarding when the gift does not have any strings attached.

Isn’t that what giving is about anyway – to give and not to get?

Leticia Bodine can be

contacted via email at



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