Practice makes perfect, they say. Today, I watched with a smile as our 7-year-old daughter practiced giving.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Ginger offered to prepare me breakfast. She spoke with unusual politeness. She offered to get my coat and gloves before I went outside.
What caused this sudden burst of other-centered kindness? She had just finished wrapping the Christmas gifts she had bought her family.
She wasn’t aware of the connection, but I saw it clearly. You see, Ginger is usually rather self-absorbed. (Aren’t we all? Adults just hide it better than grade-schoolers!)
The act of wrapping gifts that she had bought with her own money affected her mindset. Thinking about giving put her in a certain frame of mind—an other-centered frame of mind.
We all need opportunities to practice other-centeredness, because it doesn’t come naturally. One thing I do: I always drive by one or two vacant parking spaces, instead choosing one further from the store.
Leaving a nearer parking space for someone else exercises my other-centered muscles. It is a small way of practicing generosity, and it just feels right.
Perhaps you know the satisfying feeling of a 22-ounce hammer striking a nail squarely to drive it deep and true.
Or the way tomatoes, basil, and garlic harmonize with salt and olive oil, and then sing a glorious chorus of deliciousness.
When design and reality are congruent, they produce beauty and joy. You, friend, were designed to be generous—like your Designer.
We are called to “count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Each time we practice generosity and other-centeredness, the giver, the receiver, and the Creator are all blessed greatly. Because that’s how He designed it to be.