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The Gift of Giving

by Lynette Silva

Recognize This! -- What we choose to give to others rebounds in positivity on ourselves.

I read a lot of blogs. This time of year, it seems as many that share the wonders of the season, just as many deplore how it all seems to be focused on "What can I get for myself?" Yet we all know the true power of giving is in the act of giving itself. For all the pleasure in the getting of the gift, the real, lasting impact is more on the giver than on the recipient.

With Christmas a mere two days away, this story touched my heart. Several dozen children ranging in age from 6-11, most who live in poverty, where given a choice:  Get the Christmas present of your dreams or give a gift to a parent. The children were presented with both gifts - an Xbox 360 for himself and a TV for Dad; a Barbie Dream House for herself and a ring for Mom ("because she's never really had a ring.") But here's the catch. Each child had to choose just one. Keep the toy for themselves or give the gift to their parent. We all know what happens next:

"In the end, they all chose to sacrifice what they wanted to make their parent happy... The parents were blown away that their kids chose to give to them and were so attuned to what they would want and enjoy."

Not only did every single child make a sacrificial choice to give to someone they loved, the selected gifts also communicated how well the child knew, noticed, appreciated, and loved their parent. I'm not sure which aspect of the gift meant more to the parents (the story doesn't say), but for children who naturally tend to be self-focused at that age, the gifts tell a powerful story of love. Of course, in the end the kids got to keep their presents, too.

The point is, it's the ability to give that has tremendous impact on the giver. As organizations and leaders, we must ensure we are empowering all employees with the ability to give to others through recognition, praise and appreciation. The ROI of such acts is doubled because of the impact it has on both the giver and the recipient.

Today, think about that special someone in your life. What does a gift you would give to them communicate? Would you sacrifice your own desires to give that gift?


About the Author

Lynette Silva is a principal consultant on Workhuman’s Strategy & Consulting team, partnering with clients on change strategies to make work more human.

Profile Photo of Lynette Silva Heelan