what i have, i give

<enter soapbox>

Yesterday I was involved in a debate over twitter about community and charity involvement, where a local well-known “retired politician” (and former mayor of Hamilton) attempted to call out a number of people whom he has had ongoing conversations with:

@LarryDiIanni Saw lots of people at the fundraiser for St. Joseph’s Villa. You know who I never see? #HamOnt activists who yak but don’t support much!

I was quite incensed with Mr. Di Ianni’s comments that (to coin a phrase from his tweet) “yaktivists” such as myself don’t contribute to the community as much as he and his fundraiser attending friends do.  His words seem to indicate that $upport (financial support at a fundraiser) trumps support (feet on the street), when both are equally important and each plays an integral role in the grand scheme of things.

This former politician is an active user of twitter and he actually understands that it should be use to engage and not just broadcast, however when I and other “yaktivists” replied, he retreated, tail between his legs.

My reply:  @LarryDiIanni I’m not at fundraisers because I am out working FOR and WITH the causes I support.  Time and energy can be as good as money!

@JoeyColeman replied: @LarryDiIanni both @mattjelly and myself were volunteering at the Beasley Fall today. It’s great to see the work of that community.

It interested me that Mr. Di Ianni’s reply to that was a cynical response about a petition going around asking for the redrawing of municipal ward boundaries.  That @mattjelly is supporting (I support this cause as well to ensure that representation is truly done by population and have recommended a radial pie-wedge redrawing so each ward has an equal amount of say in inner city AND rural matters).  The fact that this is a cause several “yaktivists” believe in AND are putting time and energy (and indeed their personal funds) into it seems to fly above the heads of many politicians, active and retired.

As soon as Mr. Di Ianni had received the responses, he retreated.  However I was still angered, but erased several attempts to reply to the “$upport > support” argument.  A wise man told me to never wrestle with a pig as you just get dirty and the pig enjoys itself.

Indeed I wasn’t going to say anymore until the Minister at the Church I attend provided today’s sermon:  “What we have, we give.” and quoted Acts 3: 1-19 (Peter’s Healing of the Beggar)

For obvious reasons, I won’t quote you the exact verse, but the gist of the story is that a beggar asked for money from Peter and John as they entered the temple for prayer and Peter’s reply was essentially “I don’t have any money, but what I do have I give to you.”  Peter then proceeded to heal the beggar.

The minister then continued to discuss what it means to be giving and what charity is.  And the long and short of it is that charity does NOT always have a dollar sign attached to it, but needs to come from the heart for the right reasons!  I don’t give my money to organizations because of an income tax receipt, that it will grant me public visibility for potential political gain, or because of possible salvation in a hypothetical afterlife or different incarnation.  I give of my time, energy and resources because I believe in the cause and that it is the RIGHT THING FOR ME TO DO BECAUSE I HAVE THE ABILITY AND WHEREWITHAL TO DO SO!

That’s right folks, I may NOT have the money that a retired politician has, but what I do have, I give!  I give of my time by volunteering for various organizations in the city, province, country AND continent.  I give of my energy in helping various organizations out on the street, even when there are no news cameras or reporters around.  I give of my finances when I am able to do so.  Do I specifically ask for any recognition in return?  No!  I do it because I believe in the causes I support!  Any recognition does not trump the fact that I know in my heart that I have helped all I can to the best of my abilities.

What I have, I give!

</exeunt soapbox>


3 thoughts on “what i have, i give

  1. Good rant, Myke. There is far too much giving for the sake of being seen to be giving. And for tax breaks. And for after-life rewards.

    I do not believe in true altruism; that is, when we give, or do good to/for others, we do it because we feel better having done it. Human beings, perhaps more than most of our fellow beings, have a highly-developed sense of empathy. It’s part of our evolution as highly social animals. When we see the pain of another, we feel that pain inside ourselves. We know that 1) it could be us, and 2) were we to find ourselves in that situation, we would like to be helped. To me, true ethical (moral) behaviour comes from that place of empathy. If we have a healthy empathic system not overruled and corrupted by other aims–in this case, with tax receipts, that corruption is institutionalized–we do good because we see ourselves in the other and thus soothe her/his pain and ours at the same time.

    And to borrow another biblical story I remember well that illustrates the idea of giving what we can, see the story of the old woman putting 2 pennies into the collection while others criticized her for it. The response (it may have been Paul) was that giving is relative–she gave everything she had while the rich, though the amount they gave was much more, gave a much smaller percentage of what they had. That’s why I am not in the least impressed when a billionaire gives a a hundred thousand or even a million to a cause–to them that is an insignificant fraction of what they have, plus they can write it off for a tax break, and they get to enhance their brand through being seen to be giving.

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