Monday, May 2, 2011

Are You a Giver or a Taker?

"There is within each of us a potential for goodness beyond our imaginings."

Elizabeth Kubler Ross

It occured to me this week that you can divide the world into two kinds of people, the givers and the takers. Which are you? If you are a parent or grandparent,which kind are you raising?

We need to ask ourselves in every relationship we are in,our family,our marriage,our work setting,and our community,do we contribute more than we take? A family is like a canoe in a race,and it helps tremendously if everyone paddles. This might equate to having a positive,fun attitude,being kind and appreciative,thinking of others,and giving what help you can offer to family members. Family vacation season is almost upon us,and I find it much more pleasureable to hangout together as a family when everyone contributes their best self.This includes policing your own moods,and working at being a positive presence for others. These are the traits of givers.

Takers see the world as a pie, and they would like the huge middle section,thank you very much.Takers feel their needs are more important than everyone else. They demand attention and that things go their way.Takers are either unaware of other people's needs,or they just don't care enough to do anything to help others.

In parenting,we need to stop and ask ourselves from time to time which type of child or teen we are raising.It is our job to teach young people in our lives that they are part of a family,and of a community,and help shape them into givers.Children are naturally and developmentally self-focused and need to be invited by caring adults to remember family birthdays,send thank you notes,spend time with aging grandparents,help younger siblings, and volunteer alongside you in the community. Help me in trying to send a generation of givers out into adulthood to make our world a better,gentler place.

If you are a giver,you also want to run someting like a Norton-antivirus scan on your life occasionally to scan for too many takers.Natural givers need to protect their generous giving from threats from thirsty,energy-sucking takers.Watch the balance and keep an eye on your energy level.If givers feel overtaxed,you can pull back and do extreme self-care to replenish yourself and take a break from the energy vampires.

In the end, I agree with Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who was a Swiss pioneer in helping people with death,dying, and life-threatening illness;there is an unlimied amount of good in all of to access if we choose.Give some this week,and see if you can run a little intervention with a taker in your life.

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