EDITORIAL: Brighten someone’s day: Give time, share happiness

Illustration by Troy Cartwright
Illustration by Troy Cartwright
Illustration by Troy Cartwright

People often think receiving a gift would make them happier than giving. We disagree.

Giving is the best way to receive because you are freeing yourself from the societally imposed idea that what you want or need is more important than the greater good of the whole world.

People are obsessed with materialism, especially in the U.S. They spend their time and money on collecting things from cars to technology and fashion items.

Not everyone has money to throw away on these frivolities most taken for granted. Sometimes it is nice to share the blessings we have been given with those less fortunate than ourselves.

People often give gifts out of obligation rather than desire to show someone how important, special and loved they are. Put some of your heart, emotions, time and thought into gift-giving. It means more and you waste less money when you think about who the receiver actually is, what they like, how the gift might be used and the way in which it will be received.

Most people don’t want socks, hygiene products or hats and gloves but people who have little to nothing need these items. They receive them with great joy because you have met their needs. While you, as a college student, may not have a lot of money to give or to buy gifts, there are many other things you can do to help others in need.

Charities accept donations of new and lightly used items all year long. They need volunteers in the food pantries, soup kitchens, thrift stores, shelters, clothes closets, schools and more.

Volunteering is not something we should reserve just for the holidays.

You can do simple things for those around you like babysitting for the parents who are struggling through school and work while trying to raise young children. You can do something nice for someone you’ve never met. Buy someone’s meal, drink or groceries without considering what they or anyone else will think about you. Be a secret angel. It makes a world of difference in your attitude toward life and it rubs off on others whose lives are also affected.

Most people get so caught up in themselves and their own lives that they forget to actually care about or invest in the world around them. Don’t be one of those people. Quit whining and complaining about what you don’t have and figure out what you do have to contribute to the well-being of the individuals in the community that you live in. It totally changes the way you look at yourself and others.

Change someone’s life a little today. Give them an experience instead of a brightly wrapped “white elephant.” If you thought it was cheap junk, it probably is.

Make someone some cookies. Cook a meal for a needy family, an elderly person or a mom who just had a baby. Clean the home of someone who is ill. Take someone’s child, parent or spouse to school or work if they’re having car trouble. See the needs around you and fill them. Ask what you can do to make someone’s load lighter so they have the strength needed to carry on. Lift someone up when you feel down. It will lighten your load as well.

Experiences are more valuable than things. They are what humans use to create memories, make connections and build a better life. Spend time with the ones you love. Share yourself. It opens you up to a world of hope and joy.

Make memories for others that they can treasure long after you have left this earth. Make the world around you better, one moment, one person and one experience at a time.

It is what you surround yourself with that makes you who you are.

Mom always said, “Garbage in garbage out; treasures in treasures out.” She was right. What you do, who you spend time with, the things you fill your mind with and what you believe all affect the way you relate to others and how you see yourself.

Fill yourself, your life and the lives of those you touch every day with good, with hope and with love. Make happy memories. Share family treasures, pass on cultural and family traditions. Share the history of family, community, activities and events.

Those who come after you will appreciate it all the more for the richness it adds to their lives. Whatever you give or do; let it come from your heart.

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