“Bringing people together is what I call ‘ubuntu’ which means ‘I am because we are’. Far too often people think of themselves as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.” – Desmond Tutu
Millions of people all over the world donate to causes they believe in. They extend a helping hand to the needy. They give without expecting something in return (altruism). They volunteer by working in food shelters, they create awareness about a specific need, they build roads in communities, etc. This is called charity, and it is one of the most critical lessons for life.
News around the world is far too depressing these days. There are so many people suffering in war-torn countries. People are dying because of hunger. Some people don’t even have access to drinking water. When some people hear about these events, they often think that they don’t have to be charitable because charity is for the rich and famous. The truth is, when it comes to being altruistic, nothing is too small and charity is not just about giving money.
Below are two of the faces of charity:
This is probably the most common form of charity. Giving money can go a long way to help the needy and put a smile on someone’s face. Money can help provide shelter, food, water, and education to the multitude of people who can’t afford these basic human needs. Additionally, it is important to note that the amount of money you give is not as important as the fact that you are willing to give without expecting something in return. Nothing is too small!
Essentially, giving your time is giving yourself, and therefore can be a very gratifying form of charity. Just like money, giving time is not really about quantity, it is more about the quality of time you are giving. How can you give quality time? By volunteering – for example, helping to build a shelter, visiting the elderly in a nursing home, cooking for your sick neighbour, and advising someone in a troubled situation. Don’t underestimate the significance of spending quality time with someone, especially when that person really needs you to be there. This is a great lesson for life.
Benefits of Charity:
1. A great source of happiness to the giver and the receiver
By giving your money, your time or energy, you will certainly be putting a smile on the receiver’s face by responding to the person’s needs. Although you will be giving without expecting anything from the receiver, you will still be receiving something more valuable – happiness. Investing in other people’s lives will undoubtedly promote happiness in your own life.
2. Seeing life differently and bringing more meaning to your life
Giving shows empathy, love and compassion. Giving means you consciously choose to see life through the eyes of the receiver. You leave the comfort zone of your own reality and step into a whole new world, so that you can understand the person better and know how you can help. This helps you see life from a new perspective and brings more meaning to your own life, partly because you learn to be grateful for what you have. Moreover, it makes you feel more collective when you meet other people who also share the value of humanitarianism.
Charity is a powerful lesson for life we should incorporate and teach others. Don’t just think about charity as “something nice you do for someone”. Think about it as a necessity for the survival and the well-being of humanity. Tap into the spirit of ubuntu, “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.”