Sharing: A better kind of giving

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Contributing Editor Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor Walt Pickut

When you and a neighbor kid got yourselves into a hair-pulling tussle over who was going to play with the coolest toy ever – your toy – your mother probably said, “Don’t fight! Share.”

And that’s where the fun stopped. Sharing usually meant “Let the other kid play with it.” Sharing came to mean losing something. You ended up with less because you had to give something away.

But sharing is really quite different. Sharing is using something together. In sharing, things get better for everybody. In sharing, you get more than you give – you get closer to person you give it to. In that kind of giving there is never a loss. Anne Frank wrote in her famous diary, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

So, next time you give a gift, why not make it something that will bring you closer to the person you give it to? Giving is best when it is most like sharing.
That’s why this week the Jamestown Gazette invites readers to join with millions of other people around the world on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 in the global day of generosity called Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is designed to inspire civic participation – contributions of time, money, goods and services – to support community organizations that serve the public.

The event is celebrated every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. To date, it has raised more than $1 billion in the U.S. alone since its creation in 2012. And that doesn’t count the acts of kindness and the gifts of caring for someone else in ways that can’t be counted in dollars at all.

And sometimes people share in service to a greater good without asking for recognition. Getting an ego-boost, bragging rights, or an “atta-boy” aren’t even looked for in repayment. Consider these (not necessarily given on Giving Tuesday, but in the same sharing spirit):

In 2007, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) received a single anonymous gift of $150 million for its cancer center.
In 2016, Yale received a single anonymous gift of $50 million to create an endowment for its humanities program.
In 2019, however, hundreds of thousands of small, anonymous gifts, some no bigger than pennies, added up to $142.7 million for the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Drive.

I believe those gifts were all given in the spirit of sharing because they were clearly meant to draw the givers closer to the people and causes they cared about. They became richer, not poorer, for their giving.

Giving Tuesday was created in that spirit. Residents are invited to identify the non-profit causes, organizations, and civic groups whose work and service most closely matches their own interests and passions.

The late evangelist, Billy Graham, once said, “God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not made for hoarding; we are made for sharing.”

So, for Giving Tuesday this year, especially in these difficult days, remember that in sharing you will be giving a hand up, not a hand out.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.