Gift giving, the thought is not all that counts.

IMG_0886In a world where there are so many in need of food, warmth, and shelter, it is up to the giver to gift responsibly. Intent will never be of greater value than a gift received by one who truly benefits from it.

There are many reasons a person creates items that end up in charity boxes. I personally find knitting, crochet, etc. helps relieve my stress. However I would not want something that helps reduce my stress to become the thing that causes someone else stress. An act of compassion, love, or charity should come unburdened by expectation. Yet, society seems to demand that well-meaning gifts be accepted with meekness, even when the gifts cause burden or harm.

Year after year, well-meaning people gift friends and family with the handmade items, many also donate hats, scarves, and blankets to charitable causes with the hope that their efforts will bless the lives of the recipients. Each year, I read social media the complaints made by disappointed givers who find that their gifts have not been received with gratitude or with excitement. This is a reality in the world of handmade gifts. These posts are usually accompanied by comments of support for the gift-giver, and the general criticism for those who do not accept the gift with glee, or at least with feigned pleasure.

This year I have seen something new – an attack on a recipient who found the receipt of charity to be a burden, and who was rightfully justified in their feelings. Justification did little to mitigate the condemnation they received.

In the years following the U.S. decision to pursue military action in Afghanistan, there have been many charitable organizations dedicated to sending care-packages to troops serving far from home. In the early years, sending a box to “any service member” would get a package delivered to some random service member. Safety, security, and practicality have ended such deliveries. Now for such charitable deliveries to be received, an actual recipient’s name is required. Unfortunately, this means that organizations need a recipient, and it seems they are not worried about gaining the permission of the recipient before sending the care-package.

There are many reasons that the unsuspecting recipient might find it problematic to receive unsolicited gifts, but when their name is used by a charitable organization as the end point of 20, 30, 40 or more packages, there is little doubt that they would have a problem. The charity might envision a gleeful recipient acting as Santa as they hand out package after package to associates, but not all service members are in situations where they can do this.

Local, national, and international charities all seem to agree that random donations are problematic and not nearly the blessing that monetary funds provide. Sending unsolicited items and care-packages often cost time, energy, and money. The act of charity becomes the opposite – it becomes a burden.

Charity and gift-giving should not cause hardship or stress for the recipient. It is not just the thought that counts. The very basis for giving a gift is the rooted in a caring for another person, even a stranger. The joy of making a gift will never compare to knowing that gift is welcomed. Therefore, responsible gift-giving is paramount.

Mob Violence in a Modern World

Mob violence is never restricted to one side or the other. In the modern world, the town square is often replaced by social media groups. The pitch forks and torches of the past may have been replaced by the written word or photograph, but do not doubt that the modern version of tar and feathers damages individuals and businesses just as much, if not more so than, it did in the past. Looking the other way and hoping the furor will die down does not absolve or protect us from the tragedy when the mob takes action. While we can try to insulate our groups and personal pages from such behavior, we cannot hide from the mob, at least not permanently.

Stars of Valor

 

Article discussing how mob mentality is affecting the quilting world.

Saith Me.. Informed Citizenship

It requires more than just voting in order to practice informed citizenship. You cannot only tune-in every 2-4 years and hope that you’ll have more than a narrow understanding of the issues.

The world is complex and deferring your civic responsibility to others isn’t going to make you satisfied with the actions of the government.

You might not be a bad citizen if this is what you choose to do, but you won’t be an informed citizen.

informed-citizenship

Saith Me… Levity

Levity at the expense of another person’s feelings is still bullying. Especially when that levity depreciates the value of those feelings. 

When levity is generated with the full understanding that someone else is hurting, then the levity is grossly inappropriate and unkind. Levity created in a vacuum of unawareness may be less inappropriate and less unkind, but it’s not less hurtful.

We may not always avoid hurting others, but should we not at least try to limit doing harm?

In our imperfect state, we all make mistakes and we all find ourselves guilty of less-than-kind behavior or speech, but we do not need to revel in our imperfection.