Anne Frank famously penned, “No one has ever become poor from giving.” This statement, written in the 1940s by a young Jewish girl under the worst conditions, fearing for her life, hiding in a cramped space with her family during wartime, was published inThe Diary of Anne Frank in 1952. Although written during one of our world’s darkest times, Frank’s quote is in stark contrast, seeking the good in humanity, offering hope, and sharing an important lesson that still stands true today, almost 80 years later.
Many times we think “giving” equates to money; but “giving” really means to present something, like yourself (your attention and time) or goods (like food and clothing), voluntarily without the expectation of something in return. Giving also means to impart or communicate, like to tutor or offer advice, as a mentor. In this context, Frank’s quote makes perfect sense. Yes, financial giving is important; but you will never become “poor” by opening up your “heart” and freely “giving” of your love and time to help others.
Our recent guest speaker with the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, golf great and three-time local tournament champion, Lee Trevino, echoed this sentiment. Since his first win in Memphis in 1971, Trevino has donated more than one million dollars to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With each visit, though, he made a special effort to spend time with the kids. When talking about the many causes he supports, Trevino highlighted the personal power of giving, not because you “have to,” but because you “want to.” It’s the choice we make to genuinely want to help others succeed.
Today, I was reminded of this in three small ways. During my morning commute I let someone cut into my lane. As they waved in appreciation, I smiled. When I got to the office, I held the door for a lady with hands full. Her “Thanks!” made me smile again. Then, as I was driving home, neighborhood kids playing outside waved as I passed, and I smiled again and waved back. Three simple gestures, not a dollar exchanged, but each made my day brighter. I encourage you to take advantage of the little ways that you can “give” someone else happiness. I think you’ll find that the more you “give,” the “richer” your life will become.