Three Practical Ways to Add Generosity as a Character Quality
How do you respond to someone who gives you something or does something for you unexpectedly?
Ironically, generosity is rare but so simple. It’s an admirable character quality.
Character is who you really are not who you want or appear to be in your life.
And there are certain character qualities that we should aspire to develop or focus on in our lives.
Generosity is one of those qualities that is appreciated, endearing, and can be acquired over time if it’s not natural right now.
My wife and I are trying to teach our kids this character quality. We chose to create a clear and concise definition we could use to remind them of the meaning:
Make Someone’s Day by Giving Something Away
It’s easy to see selfishness in children. They embrace it with strong language:
But I don’t want to share
Yet they can also be incredibly generous. I have one son who is a natural giver. It’s just who he is at the core and an amazing, endearing character quality. Everyone loves when he gives. Imagine that.
But most of us have to work at it. We may never outwardly utter the embarrassing words: MINE or I don’t want to share. Yet we think it and often times will justify not sharing.
What if we considered adding or growing in the area of generosity? How could we actually do it?
There are three practical ways to add generosity as a character quality:
1. GENEROUS with my MONEY
This is the most obvious and often thought of way to be generous. And a great tangible example.
Ironically, it doesn’t need to be a lot of money to make a difference! It’s the sacrifice.
Sometimes it’s simply helping someone in need.
Other times it’s giving to something bigger than ourselves.
The point here is to use what we have to be generous to others.
I remember as a child my father would buy grocery store or McDonalds gift cards for the sole purpose of giving to someone in need.
If he saw someone with a sign that said “homeless”, he would give them one of these gift cards.
We had VERY little money growing up but it taught me how to be generous even when others would say, “they’re probably just going to use it on alcohol or cigarettes.” My father showed a way to not use that as a reason to avoid giving and still be generous to someone in need.
And if money has a hold on us, this is a great way to loosen its grips and can make an immediate impact for the good.
Our family chooses to support a child in Africa. My kids see the impact of the financial support.
We recently created a care package for this child filled with purchased items (the kids paid for) along with notes, and pictures. It took creativity and thought but it’s been a great experience for our family.
Are you thinking of a way you could be generous to someone else and develop this character quality?
2. GENEROUS with my TIME
This is a challenge for me. Sometimes the 1st option of generous with my money can be easier because it’s a gift and may not require any more of you.
But giving of my time gets VERY personal. I’m a highly structured person so time is my most valuable resource.
Yet what better way to show someone generosity then in an area that directly requires something of me?
The quickest crowd I can personally choose to be generous with my time is with my family.
My wife’s love language is time spent (and who could blame her with a traveling husband). And my kids, like any other kids, absolutely love any time especially generous time spent.
Others are generous with their time by their actions. I know a handful of friends who in a moment’s notice would help me do anything.
It’s a free way to serve others and demonstrate the character quality of generosity.
Yet so few are generous with their time. We can easily defend why we cannot offer this gift and may even be justified.
But what if we learned to develop this character quality giving more of our time to our family first then to others? What impact would it make on them?
3. GENEROUS with my WORDS
Why would WORDS make the list of generosity? Because of the power of words.
When someone is generous with encouragement, how does it make you feel? Do you avoid them or soak in their generosity in this life-giving way?
Most people are guarded with their words. But when I find someone who empowers, encourages, believes in, and motivates me with their words, I want to be around them.
The reality is being generous with your words is a choice. You choose to bring others life and build them up rather than being negative and tearing someone down or even choosing to say absolutely nothing.
If your natural impulse is negative, this could be a great challenge for you even if you may be generous in one or both of the other ways. (money and time)
Words are free and can be literally said in a moment’s notice verbally or in written form. Yet their impact could be for days, weeks, or even months later. What a return on the investment!
I want to be a person who is gracious with their words. I want someone to leave my presence motivated, challenged, inspired, and encouraged. Are you with me?
There are two specific ways to develop a generous character:
You have to WANT to develop the generous quality. If the desire is not there, nor will the development of this endearing quality in your character.
No one can force you to be generous. It’s a decision that must be made with conviction in order for it not only to have meaning but stay long term and affect your character.
Motivated, busy professionals naturally have desire in their drive. It’s part of the wiring.. But which desire is determined only by you.
It’s a pre-requisite and critical for generosity. Do you have this desire?
Once you have the desire, you must learn the skill of observation to see opportunities to be grateful.
SO many things in life are missed simply because we’re not aware of the opportunity.
What if we took that desire and acted on that opportunity? What a difference you could make in someone else’s life?
It’s amazing just how many little things we could do to impact other people by our generosity if we just noticed. This is a challenge for motivated and especially BUSY professionals.
And oh what a difference we could make to others.
Do you want to be known as a generous person? Is this a quality that speaks to you? If so, then begin looking for ways to use your money, time, and words to be generous.
Check your desire and look become observant looking for opportunities to be generous.
And the most ironic part is not only is the person you’re generous towards affected by your actions, so will you. Skeptical? Try it and see…
Is this a character quality you want to develop?