Giving Tuesday vs. Giving Everyday
Giving Tuesday is a movement to create an international day of giving at the beginning of the holiday season. I assume the thought behind this is that everyone is suddenly feeling the effects of the turkey tryptophan, and great waves of good will and generosity will flow. Not a bad idea, in theory. But in truth, awareness of others and the planet should go beyond the palliative effects of a once-in-a-year surge in philanthropy egged on by a good meal or a targeted eblast.
Our humanity is measured by our relationship with others. When we ignore that relationship, when we forget about community, we risk losing that humanity. The first step in maintaining our compassion is to identify what we mean by 'community'. I tend to rely on the broadest sense of the word, and in doing so, use that as a measure in determining my role in my day-to-day interactions within my neighborhood.
In Becoming, Michelle Obama writes, "as a kid, you learn to measure long before you understand the size or value of anything." Before one gives freely, you have to understand the value of what you're protecting. Something has to be at stake. What drives you? Where do your passions lie?
So here we are, faced with the yearly requests for support, contributions, participation, donations – call them whatever you like. But life isn't neatly wrapped up in one day of giving. Problems aren't solved and vision isn't executed in the writing of one check. Change, on all levels, is a collective endeavor and requires consistent defining moments. Everyday participation, everyday philanthropy, everyday generosity both of spirit as well as dollars, matters. And from my personal perspective as Executive Director of Reeves-Reed Arboretum, environmental awareness and empowerment is a cause worth supporting, always.