I guess it truly is summer for me. I was bored again with no work to do, and no kids around, so I went to half price books. I go here to just browse or sit in the uncomfortable wooden chairs and read through or glance at titles that I find interesting. Well, this time around I found myself picking through a book entitled “Giving” by Bill Clinton. I knew that after he was President he did a lot of good will trips, and because of the whole 2016 election I knew Bill and Hillary had charity groups, (I assumed it was for the tax advantages) but, now I know that unless Bill is lying, he really does care about others. He did brag that Hillary cares more than he does in the early sections, but the book is not political, it is written to inspire you to be a giver. It is filled with givers and their stories. Such as, how a couple went on vacation and saw the poverty, so they went home started a campaign to help (I’m not here to ruin the book). It shares inspiring stories about how entire villages got fresh water to drink and now people aren’t dying from drinking water. It shows how a single person can change the world for the better. Most of the stories are not Bill bragging about his giving, but of others who are still giving to this day, and how they saw the light and made a difference in the world around them.
As the richest, freest, and most power nation in the world, I do feel an obligation to give and help others. I’m no millionaire (yet), but I know I am in the top 1% of the world as most of you are too in America. We should be giving more in many different ways. Bill describes and has stories of different ways of giving in each chapter. Actually, look at the table of contents and see the different ways to give:
1.The Explosion of Private Citizens Doing Public Good
2. Giving Money
3. Giving Time
4. Giving Things
5. Giving Skills
6. Gifts of Reconciliation and New Beginnings
7. Gifts That Keep on Giving
8. Model Gifts
9. Giving to Good Ideas
10. Organizing Markets for the Public Good
11. Nonprofit Markets Can Be Organized Too
12. What about Government?
13. How Much Should You Give and Why?
As you can see giving away 99% of your wealth like Bill Gates isn’t necessary. You can give time, things, skills, etc. to help better lives. Many people, including Bill Clinton and myself, support their local churches already. But, how much of the money that the church receives, goes to the causes that you really believe in. Maybe you believe that women in other countries should have the right to an education. Does your money help those who you believe should be helped? I’m not saying don’t help your church, but maybe you should find a solid charity that focuses on what you believe. I donate to women’s education through Kiva.org, in $25 increments, in the form of micro loans. I put $100 in four years ago, and as it is repaid each time (100% repayment so far), I reloan it to someone else. Every once in a while I add some more money to the account and it has grown over the four years to quit a bit of loaning.
You can also give your time to causes that are dear to your heart. Instead of watching the news and thinking that is terrible, someone should do something, you can be that person. You can help build houses with Habitat for Humanity like 92 year old Jimmy Carter, or you can help in the local soup kitchen feeding hungry people in your community. You can also go down to the local library or nursing home and volunteer to read to people, clean, sort, or just spend time with people looking to talk. You can teach immigrants english instead of complaining they don’t know english. Our local library has adult education classes in the evening. Go volunteer to teach, or lead a group of Boy Scouts on an adventure out of the city.
Karl Marx said, “Teach a man to fish, then you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.” He was half joking, but really teaching skills to others is a form of giving. Most of the bloggers in the personal finance niche, do enjoy giving the new found freedom that comes with financial knowledge away, in the form of their free blogs. Some of you post exactly how to sign up for the proper insurance; you post on the best deals to save money on everything; you post on your mistakes so others don’t have to go down that road. Many bloggers are teachers at heart and are trying to help others with their skills. I congratulate those who do it in the giving spirit! Gifting skills can change generations of people. If someone knew how to turn a few cows into a thriving business, then future generations would learn and continue to thrive. They just learned the skills that would take their entire family, and future family members out of poverty possibly forever. Most of us Americans forget that some relative learned skills, came to a land of opportunity, and taught those skills to our ancestors. We only benefit today because of those gifted skills taught from one generation to another in America. We can spread our inherited gifts further, by branching out and changing others lives with the knowledge you take for granted. Find ways to teach those skills to others, and help change entire family trees.
For the parents out there, giving is a great way to teach and gift your children the feeling of empathy for others. It can be something as simple as mowing the widows lawn and bringing the kids along to weed her flower beds. You can sign up for meals on wheels once a week, and have your child run the meal up to the door. You can volunteer your time and coach your child’s sport team spreading your knowledge. You can sign up for a Kiva.org account, and as a family pick someone to help together. You can volunteer to work a 5K fun run, or run in it, where the proceeds go to a good cause and make it a teaching moment. My favorite is rewarding good work as I see it. My son and I received great service from a young waiter at Olive Garden, and when our bill of $14 and something, for unlimited soup, salad, and bread sticks came. I tipped the waiter $20 and told the manager that the waiter was one of the best I have ever had anywhere. My son and I talked about it the whole way home as a teaching moment about how hard work always pays off. Hard work is a skill that must be taught.
Now I’m not writing this to promote Bill Clinton’s book, but it is simple, and straight forward in it’s story telling sagas. I’m not politically affiliated with any parties, but giving is a world concept that we all must learn. I just stumbled across a reminder at half price books, and decided that reminding a larger audience can’t hurt anyone. So, I hope you pass this information along and remind others. I hope it inspires change in you, your family, and community. You can do anything to give, get creative in your giving style. Mr. Groovy picks up trash for example and I respect him for his blog posts and videos making others aware. Go out and find your giving method, and as 1%ers we can change the world for the better.
Below are some ways to give that I have either gifted or I know others who have gifted them with great success. Get started giving in some way today.
Dallas Fire Fighter Association (or your local FD)
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital (no kids every get a medical bill)