Give Before You Receive
If you’re a parent, especially of a younger child, the holidays can be difficult. With the influx of marketing, shopping and stuff, stuff, stuff, it’s easy for a kid—or an adult—to forget to be grateful for the things he or she already has.
But you don’t have to have kids—or be one—to realize the importance of giving back to the less fortunate. That’s why we think that the holiday season is the perfect time to hone your sense of gratitude and start down the path of generosity.
Sean Carroll, CEO and President of Ross F. Carroll, Inc. (and cover model for this edition of Contentment Health) says that he and his wife Sunday have always tried hard to share their generous outlook on life with their daughter Shaelyn and son Cade. “Our families instilled the importance of gratitude and giving in us,” says Carroll “We both had a great set of grandparents and parents who showed us the benefits of approaching life that way. Now we’re trying to pass that on to our kids as well.”
Carroll says that some of his approach is to lead by example. He and his wife support a myriad of community charities from the Salvation Army to the Soroptimist Community Christmas Tree. “We just try to share the outlook on life that it truly is greater to give than receive. Every year we make a priority out of showing the rewards of giving rather than getting.”
Kate Trompetter, Marketing and Public Relations Director for Center for Human Services, sees giving back as a lifestyle. “I feel like I’ve been really lucky to have had experiences throughout my life to give and to really know how amazing it feels,” she says. “Giving, regardless of position in life or need, is a critical part of my physical, emotional and social wellbeing. I want that for the young people in my life.”
Trompetter and her husband Dave work to instill these lessons in Dave’s teenage sons Zyan and Seth, and they plan to pass these same lessons on to their seven-month-old daughter Quinn.
“I’m always inspired by something my mother once wrote to me: ‘don’t be afraid to reach out to people who live a different life than you. Sometimes just one bad decision or just plain bad luck could cause ‘us’ to become ‘them.’ The only real distance between us is the distance we impose.’”
Trompetter says there was “never a question that being a grateful, generous and giving person was something we expected of the young people in our lives.”
“Dave and I both look for opportunities to give and we make a point of sharing and celebrating those moments with the kids,” adds Trompetter. “In turn, the kids look forward to sharing and celebrating their acts of generosity with us. We also try to make giving feel better than receiving. Making thoughtful choices to be kind and generous is something we throw a party for in our house, but it’s not a special occasion when we do a park cleanup or take cookies to a neighbor. We've made it part of the fabric of our family. Generosity is part of what defines us and that makes me very proud.”
Whether you’re helping out the less fortunate through the area’s many established charities or simply making an everyday difference in the lives of those you know, this season is the best time to learn—and teach—to appreciate what you have and commit to making a difference.
Whatever you do: thank you and happy holidays.