I am writing to you from the jungles of Masai Mara, Kenya. Back here after three years to spend some time in the wild and do what I love doing most - photography.
Came across this Quote by Lao Tzu and today’s newsletter is themed around it.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
A woman, who was traveling alone in the mountains, found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, the woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.
The traveler left, rejoicing in his great fortune.
He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said,
“I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”
The woman smiled, “The joy of giving!”
Often times we feel like we can’t really give anything to anyone since we don’t have enough for ourselves and we repeat this story to ourselves for so long and eventually, we make it part of our reality, but is that really true? Is there really nothing you have to offer to the world? I doubt that. Aren’t there talents and skills you have? Isn’t there plenty of LOVE in your heart to share with those you care about? Isn’t there a smile on your lips to offer to those who may have none?
Yesterday (16th July) was Babuji’s ( Grand father) birth centenary. And to celebrate the same, we helped to build a 12000 sq feet Cow shed and handed over to the Gaushala at Deshnoke, Rajasthan. Deshnoke is our ancestral home town and our ancestors migrated from there in 1874 AD. I have been able to track our family history from 948 AD, from the courts of Maharawal of Jaisalmer. A synopsis is here,
in case you would be interested to read.
My Babuji was my Guru and teacher. Most of my values and teachings come from him.
Five golden mantras that Babuji taught me:
1. No matter how yesterday went, remember that every new day is a new opportunity. You can’t rest on yesterday’s accomplishments, and you never have to repeat yesterday’s mistakes.
2. Spend as much time as you can with the people you love. Your spouse, your kids, your parents, your close friends, whoever they are, make sure that you find lots of time to spend with the people you truly care about.
3. Work hard. You can’t always determine what you get out of something, but you can often control what you put into it. “कर्म करो , वही तुम्हारे हाथ में है"।
4. Don’t worry. Worrying rarely improves the odds of good things happening, and can actually diminish those odds. He used to say "करने में सावधान होने में प्रसन्न"।
5. Share - Share your resources, knowledge and experiences. The more you give the more you will get. His words were "जो देता है सो पाता है"।
Time and again I have found that the last point is magic. Whatever we have, increases through sharing. When you give unhappiness, your unhappiness increases; when you give bliss, your bliss increases. Whatever you share, increases. Sharing is the way to increase. You will not cast thorns on others’ paths, because sooner or later, you will come across them on your path. If you are wise, you will never spread unhappiness, because your own unhappiness will increase in the giving, and in not giving, it will fade away. If you are wise you will always share joy, because your joy will increase in the sharing, and if it is not shared, it will die. Sharing is the formula for growing.
Tools to teach your children Joy of Giving
There is not a better way for children to learn and develop positive traits than by watching us put into practice what we demand from them. Remember, children are like sponges, absorbing, then replicating behavioral traits - good or bad. Give them some good models to copy.
- Teach them to give some of their own time into helping others, no matter if it is their mom, a schoolmate, or a neighbour. Or at least, they’ll learn the value of respecting others’ time when necessary.
- Sharing Money. A useful way of teaching the concept of sharing could be committing small portion of their pocket money to a charity they choose. And then perhaps taking him to meet the people that the charity helps, or at least show them their website, so they see the effect of that small action.
- Give Daily. We have a charity coin box on our Dining table and Mom would keep five rupee coin in every plate at breakfast time and we would put it in the charity box, before serving food on our plate. When the box becomes full, she counts the coins and keep aside equivalent money for some charity. The objective here is to reach a level in which the act of giving becomes more of a subconscious action, almost a reflex, and not something that children feel as imposed or premeditated.
- Teach them to be grateful. Gratitude is one of the most precious things we can give, but what’s even more valuable is to instill this in our children by recognizing and appreciating efforts of everyone around us. The house help, the sweeper outside your home, the traffic cop or anyone contributing to the well-being of our community.
- Be kind to Pets. Whether it’s your own pet or those around your community, few beings are more grateful than animals. This makes them the perfect vehicle to teach kids the joy that giving brings.
- Sharing Knowledge. Not all of us excel at every subject in school, but this can also be an opportunity to learn about how beneficial giving/sharing actually is. Organizing study meets for your kids and their friends can work wonders. Almost immediately, they start to support one another with the subjects each one of them handles better.
If you do any of these or anything else to teach your kids Joy of Giving, please share. Would love to share with larger audience.