Have you ever hung out with a two-year-old for an afternoon?
If you have, you’ll know that one of their favorite words in the whole world is: “Mine!”
That sippy cup? Mine!
That shiny red truck? Mine!
That shaggy blue stuffed dog with only one eyeball? Mine!
Have you ever tried to get that two-year-old to share that treasured truck or love-worn puppy with a friend?
It can be rough going.
Sharing can be a hard sell to a toddler.
We are born with an innate need to claim things as our own.
Our belongings can make us feel important…loved…valuable.
You might think that would change as we mature.
The toys just get bigger and shinier.
Whether it’s picking out our first car as a teenager or buying our first home as an adult, we all enjoy saying, “Mine!”
Shiny red trucks and first homes are fantastic things to have.
We actually love them!
But here at ILG, we think that people are more important than things.
It’s one of the reasons we encourage the students in our Generous Classroom program to get generous with their belongings.
There is something powerful and freeing about sharing our stuff with others – it puts things in their rightful place.
Despite how we feel, our belongings don’t define us.
When we share the stuff we own with others, our stuff doesn’t own us!
Sharing Your Toys
Did you know that the United States is the wealthiest country in the world?
It also has the biggest wealth gap between the poor and rich.
While you may not be the next Bill Gates, chances are you have some toys that you could share with someone a little less fortunate than you.
Think of it this way: Is there something that you have that brings you joy?
Is there a way that you could share it with someone that would bring them joy, too?
Our friend, Eric, is passionate about fast cars.
He really loves them a whole lot.
But he loves sharing them with others even more,
Eric launched Dream Drives for Kids.
He uses his elite fleet of exotic cars to take kids who are fighting cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders for the ride of a lifetime.
Eric’s cars are expensive.
His joy-filled rides with kids? Those are priceless.
Give and It Shall Be Given To You
All the things that you own right now…how do they make you feel?
Do they define you?
Do they make you feel loved or valuable?
Do you own them or do they own you?
What would it look like if you decided to share your toys with the other kids on the block?
What would it feel like to change someone’s day (or life!) by sharing your stuff with them?
Do you have a lemon tree that can’t stop giving? Think about dropping off a bag at your neighbor Henry’s door.
Do you have a backyard pool that is rarely used?
Why not throw a pool party for the families in your neighborhood?
Do you have a couple of dirt bikes that need to be taken out for a spin?
Offer them to your co-worker and his kids for the weekend.
What do you have that could usher in a shiny red truckload of joy into someone else’s life?
Getting generous with your belongings could be the best way you’ve ever spent your summer.
We think you should get generous and get in on the joy!
Susanna Aughtmon is a gifted writer, wonderful wife, mother, daughter and friend, and a valued member of the I Like Giving team.