…or so says Mr Garrison, I think certain Latin geeks have proven that to be incorrect. It’s a dead language either way.
But let’s talk about generosity for a second. I’m not talking about anybody specific, this is just some general thoughts I have.
Many people these days confuse generosity with being wealthy. Mr. X must be so rich because he gives Mr. Y this and buys Miss Z this. Mr. X holds parties where he provides everything and the guests don’t have to bring anything if they didn’t want to, he must be rich. I disagree.
Mr. X may indeed be rich, but he could also be even less well off than Mr. Y, Miss Z and all his party guests. Why would he still show such generosity then? Because it is important to him that he does, because it is in his character, it is in his approach to life. He is a generous person. He may only earn $200 a week, but he would spend $500 in one night (if we can assume he’s not an over spender who’s swiping his credit cards with money he doesn’t have) on his party, because it is important to him that his friends have the best time possible under his care. He would rather be stingy with himself and save for weeks on end so that he can be generosity to all his friends in one night. And if you think people like this don’t exist, I can tell you they do, just not many, because us increasing self-centered humans are discouraging this behaviour more and more. Because at the end of the day, after all of Mr. X’s giving, his selfish friends never returns any of that generosity.
On the other hand, Mr. A drives a good car, lives in a great house in a rich neighbourhood, he uses the best of things, and spends money on himself without blinking…but when it comes to sharing, every dollar is every dollar, every cent is every cent. Not that rich people should be automatically pressured to be generous. But one must wonder, the double standard of how Mr. A spends money on himself versus his friends is perhaps the best indication of how important he perceive his friends to be. In a relatively equal environment such as that which the University students occupy, no one is THAT RICH or THAT POOR, there are certain special cases, but generally it’s all a matter of how you choose to spend your money. At the end of the week, whether you have negative dollar in the bank account or a large sum, it is directly the result of your week’s actions, because that was not the amount you started the week off with.
Your generosity is how generous you are willing to be within your capabilities. You only have two hotdogs, but you’re still willing to give one or perhaps even both away, because you’re giving them to people who are dear to you, and that act of kindness brings you enjoyment. And even if this giving is not purely selfless, such as when you know your equally kind friends will in the not so distant future return the favour, I don’t think the kindness loses any depth or meaning, because what is friendship built on after all? In the words of Joey Tribbiani: “sharing…having…giving…and receiving.” There’s a Chinese saying: 礼尚往来 (li shang wang lai), which roughly means: giving gifts should be done back and forth, and often. Because this act brings people closer, think about the tradition of gifting on Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, they are occasions that exist to bring people one step closer to each other, to remind us that we are surrounded by loved ones and that perhaps the world is not so grey and dark as it sometimes may seem.
Of course, anything you have are yours to dispense, no one HAVE to give, if you choose to invest it all on yourself and yourself only, then that’s your choice, no one can tell you otherwise. But I urge you to think again the next time you have an opportunity to be generous, and what butterfly effects it may have on our little world. But most important of all, don’t put generosity and wealth in the same sentence, because often they have nothing to do with each other.