What is your version of Generosity?

Lianne Nikkel, FPQP™ |

My first memory of receiving generosity is from my childhood. It was Halloween, and my mom loaded us kids into our 12-passenger van to go trick-or-treating at a neighbor’s farm several miles away. I am one of 15 siblings, and my family never had much extra of anything, so our costumes consisted of whatever old stuff we could unearth from the basement storeroom. We were hobos or ghosts most years. As we lined up in our neighbor’s kitchen with our brown paper bags, tops rolled down for a sturdier grip, our neighbor proceeded to use both hands to drop two huge scoops of candy into each of our bags!  I had never received such abundance.  All that candy, just for me. I imagine she enjoyed our wide eyes and gasps of delight at that gift.  And I imagine my mom enjoyed making only one trick-or-treat stop that year.

My first memory of initiating generosity is also from my childhood.  One December, my mom gave us each two small pieces of red felt to make our own stockings. We cut out the shapes, glued the pieces together, and added sequins and ribbon. After they had hung on the mantel for a few days, I started to wonder if we would find any treats in them on Christmas morning. Guessing that the chances were slim, I took some of my babysitting money and bought a bag of ribbon candy to fill my siblings’ stockings. Late one night after everyone else went to bed I did some math, divided by 15, then dropped a few pieces of candy into each stocking. If you are thinking that ribbon candy is not individually wrapped, and that it probably stuck to the insides of the felt stockings, you are absolutely right.  My 10-year-old brain, however, did not think that far ahead. What a sticky mess!  My joy in giving was diminished a bit by the result, but I will always remember how good it felt to do something special and unexpected for my brothers and sisters.

Through the years my family and I have been recipients of many acts of generosity, and we have also experienced a great deal of joy in blessing others. I am proud to work for a company that considers generosity a core value. “We encourage and model a generous lifestyle with our resources, our time, and our talents” is not merely emblazoned on the conference room wall and framed on our desks. We close our offices several times a year to volunteer in our community. We call out examples of generosity, both given and received, during our weekly team meetings. We invest in causes and organizations that align with our values. And I.M. Wealth Care matches each employee’s personal donations, up to $2,000, every year!

Generosity looks different for everyone. We cannot all give $2,000 but we can all give a kind word, a moment of our time, or maybe even a double scoop of candy.  At its simplest, generosity is open-handedness with what we have, awareness of the needs around us, and willingness to give with no expectation of a reward. Go impact someone today with your version of generosity.