Charity begins with ME!

My mom loves Oprah’s new show, Oprah’s Big Give.  I’ve never seen it, but I certainly like the idea of a show about giving.  In fact, one of the things that has always impressed me about Oprah is that she’s a giver.  Yes, she has a lot so she can afford to be generous, but I believe that giving is a part of who she is and what makes her tick.

I recently read an article that I found interesting.  The author of the article started what she calls The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy.  In the article, she describes the project as “giving ten of my friends one hundred dollars and inviting them to, in turn, give that money away.” 

Read the article and let me know what you think.

3 thoughts on “Charity begins with ME!

  1. I love Oprah’s way of giving especially her Angel Network. I believe her generosity has to be making an impact no matter how we define it.

    I can relate to Cortney’s concern though. I love her Secret Society idea also. Maybe it will create a new way of taking care of each other and learn how to become our brother’s keeper’s at times other than Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    There is something to be said about us wanting to see the impact of our giving (not sure what if says about us) but just helps us to know that it is appreciated or that this person was the most needy and not taking advantage our generosity.

    We have to be careful not to focus on monetary giving. Helping in other ways are just as important and don’t have to cost a lot. Giving someone a ride in the winter or at night transporting kids from day care, providing care for them after school is an important gift of time.

    Hope I did not stray too far off the topic.

    Anglea continue to be a blessing to others.

  2. I know very little about Oprah and I haven’t seen “Oprah’s Big Give” so I can’t comment on that, but I like the article. I think it challenges us to rethink charity: why we give, what we give, and to whom we give (and any other aspects I can’t think of right now :-).

    One of the first things that comes to mind when I hear the word “charity” is that what was translated as “charity” in the King James Version of the Bible (at least in 1 Corinthians 13) is translated “love” in more modern translations. Thinking in terms of love has changed my attitude and actions when it comes to giving.

    Referring to what Sy wrote, I agree that most of us want to know that our giving was appreciated or that it went to someone who was deserving but I think we have to get past that. We have to find our gratification in knowing we did the right thing rather than in someone’s response to what we did. I was thinking about Matthew 6:3, “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” and was tickled to see that the New King James Version entitles verses 1-4, “Do Good to Please God.” (I won’t include the other verses here, but read them if you get a chance.) To help with this, I set myself up to miss the reaction to some of the things I do. I pay for the lunch of the person behind me in the drive-through line and then I drive away and don’t look back. I drop an anonymous note in the mail to share a compliment or wish someone a good day. And even though I’ll never know how that person responded, I find myself smiling about what I’ve done.

    I also like what Sy said about not focusing on monetary giving. Certainly money is necessary but what we can give instead of or along with money can be so much more meaningful than money alone. The article uses the word “interconnectedness.” I think money can cause us to miss that connection. I sit at my desk, write a check, and send it off in the mail. Yes, it is helping, but there can be so much more to giving than that. I can give money to the school whose library needs books, but what fun the children and I share when I take the time to go read to them! The empty-nester who husband recently died doesn’t need my money, but she would love a phone call or a visit.

    So who are these needy people I’m going to help? I think everybody qualifies. I mean, who can’t use some more love? Because that’s what we’re talking about giving, right?

    Boy, I got wound up! I hope I didn’t go off on too much of a tangent. I don’t speak out like this often, but Angela, you found a topic that is dear to me. People don’t know what they’re missing in their own lives when they don’t share with others. Speaking of sharing, thank you for sharing this article with us. I can’t wait to read what others have to say.

  3. I caught a few episodes of Oprah’s Big Give, and I agree with you that Oprah is naturally a “giver”. The Angel Network, her amazing giveaways on her show, and what we’ve witnessed on primetime television (opening the school in Africa, hosting the banquet for 50 notable African American women, and Oprah’s Big Give) makes her a deserving candidate for the title, Most Philanthropic Citizen of the 21st Century.

    Many argue that she is obsessed with televising her charitable gives and that she does so for the recognition, ratings, and rave reviews. They say that a true giver from the heart gives quietly and doesn’t mind if she is not rewarded publicly for her generosity. Well, I agree. Where I let Oprah off the hook, however, is she provides an amazing, much-needed, therapeutic contrast to the “other” Triple “R” rated television shows available to our audiences. It’s ironic that many of us complain that television entertainment is too inappropriate, but when someone comes along with a television program that promotes principles, we accuse the producer of having selfish motives.

    On the other hand, the problem I have with Oprah’s Big Give is the same one I have with another reality show that I really like (The Biggest Loser). In both situations, participants are voted or kicked off the show. I think it’s possible to launch a show (contest) without having contestants voted off. These shows promote positive life changes in each participant’s life as well as in our communities. Therefore, I believe all the contestants should be allowed to stay and complete every task in order to maximize the message that the shows attempt to convey to their audiences. Although unconsciously, Oprah’s Big Give sends the message, “Give….Give….Give” but if you can’t give as good as the next person, then we’re going to oust you from our circle. Likewise, The Biggest Loser retorts, “Live a Healthy Life, but if you can’t lose the weight faster or better than the next person, we’re snatching this opportunity away from you.” Because these people are trying to enhance the quality of life (theirs and others), I think all contestants should stay the full course of the show, and a winner should be declared at the end based on some point system. But wait a minute! That’s not ENTERTAINING enough, right?

    If I had to choose what I consider to be the greatest example of a show that represents the true spirit of giving, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition would win hands down. 1. No one is turned down publicly. 2. The cast is not judged or criticized for choosing a particular family. 3. The families chosen are showered with love and support from EVERYONE…the producers, the cast, the community, and a local construction company. 4. The giving continues when the cameras stop rolling.

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