day 683 | august 12, 2013 | 5 Ways to Pass It On

When people think of generosity, more often than not, the first things that come to mind are material things or cash. But money only plays a small part of the equation. 90% of it is heart. If the heart is willing, it matters less that the hands are empty. A world of options open up on the many purposeful ways to make a difference. One can be generous with their positive energy, with their skills, and their time. A willing heart makes anything possible.

So the first step is to dig deep, and find a cause that resonates with you. Something that you genuinely believe in and care for. The rest will naturally follow.

One 'simple' cause that I strongly believe in is to inculcate thankfulness and generosity to my little ones. The process is complex, and Roo and I swim through questions that we don't necessarily have the answers for. It's a discovery process for the both of us. There's one thing we agreed on though -- that real poverty is not simply a lack of basic needs. Those are mere symptoms. Real poverty is a lack of opportunities to help oneself. So our actions when helping should not create dependency, but rather, self-sufficiency, much like a parent assisting a child to walk. The success factor is when the child is able to do it on their own. And from here, the key principle behind our Pass It On Campaign was born.

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, 
but reveal to them their own." - Disraeli 

Once you find your purpose, breathe deep and prepare to endure. Go into it with the intention to understand beyond your personal experiences, to learn how our everyday choices affect the world around us, and to grow into a life of intended meaning. 

To help kickstart someone's journey, below are five (5) ways to Pass It On, which doesn't require any monetary contributions. We hope they will inform as well as inspire action...

Trimming down what I have to the few things that are absolutely essential have always been therapeutic for me. It helps me gain mental clarity, physical space, and creative flexibility. It helps me focus on what's important, and also makes me keenly aware how much we live in excess. Take the first step in evaluating what you have, and set aside things you no longer need. I can swear by it -- it's really good for you.

After that, if you are looking for a place to donate some of your 'usable' excess, you can visit SGGIVES for a list of organizations who would appreciate your donations. While it is good to give, informed giving is better. Do make an effort to understand the mission of the organization you're giving to, and how they hope to help. 

More than material things, building skills and a certain hopeful mindset can be life-changing both to the giver and receiver. SGCARES has a list of volunteer opportunities here within Singapore. There's also Habitat for Humanity which has volunteer opportunities outside of Singapore. 

As an everyday endeavor, look for any opportunity to teach someone about something that's close to your heart. It takes time, and sometimes, in this mad rush world, we need to learn to be as generous with our time as with our money. I've also noticed that when I teach, I end up realizing that I don't know everything, and will then be driven to find out more about what I intend to teach. "While we teach, we learn." - Seneca

Ministry of Social and Family Development supports children in need through a fostering scheme. I was looking into it before we made a decision to welcome a new family member next year (and no, I'm NOT pregnant). Once our new member's transition is complete, will definitely look into this again. I think Roo and Red will have much to learn from our guests, and I'm hoping that the open and loving environment we have at home can help offer safe haven where they can heal and grow.

During times of haze, a simple way to help to is to welcome friends and neighbors in your home, especially if you know they are ill-prepared for the smog.

More things are caught rathen than taught. Start off with your kids and immediate sphere of influence. Prioritize inculcating kindness onto the little ones, and beyond talking about it, live it. Beyond spreading the word about meaningful causes to drive awareness and action, lead by example. Let your actions speak for themselves.

Generosity, consideration, thoughtfulness -- it doesn't have to be big, heroic endeavors. The smallest acts of kindness can be contagious. There is immense courage in choosing to be kind on a daily basis, even through the drudgery of everyday. Smile at everyone with your heart on your sleeve. Give someone who's feeling down a wam hug. Hold the lift-door open for someone. Say Hi to your neighbors and get to know them. Thanking everyone around you from that neighbor who held the lift door open for you, to your co-workers who took some time in their day to share that file with you, the grumpy taxi driver or bus driver who shuttled you to where you needed to be, to the cleaning aunties and uncles who deal with everyone's crap (literally and figuratively).

Kindness is also an emotional muscle -- so the more we practice it, the stronger it gets. Being intentionally kind helps us reframe everyone through a more compassionate lens, and from that lens, we realize that we're all humans trying to make things work during our limited time on this earth. Why not make it a pleasant journey for everyone? 

I'm sure there are more ways than those shared here. This is just a starter kit to a kindness journey, so to speak. We'd love more ideas and are also inspired by stories. So do tell --> How do you Pass It On? :)

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