The Gift of Giving
All of us have, in our own mind and heart, an attitude and mindset toward helping those around us that are less fortunate, need a helping hand, or are in a position where events have meant they have lost control of their lives.
Some of these things strike a chord and are a lot closer to home than we would perhaps like, others are our ideals and all of them are important, not only to ourselves, but to those that truly need help.
Our past can and does shape our future
From a very early age in my life, I learned about the gift of giving. As many of you know, I grew up in a cash-strapped working class family. My father worked in the car factory, my mother was an office cleaner. Money was tight. That said, we were also very happy!
My father, frugal/tight/careful as he still is to this day, was also incredibly generous. Not with his money – he didn’t have it to give – but with his time, and despite working hard, most weekends and overtime if it was available, always made time to help those that needed it. Whether that was through volunteering, providing kids entertainment or raising money for charity, he was always first in to help.
A good few years back, 16 or 17 now, one of my mentors at the time, introduced to me the whole “Tything” thing. Where, you give away a portion of your income each year to help those around you or causes you feel strongly about.
At the time this didn’t seem to make a lot of sense, particularly given my frugal background of “holding onto your money” – that hangover of scarcity mindset. But on hearing the same idea from several other sources, it became something I came to embrace.
Finding your Fit, finding your Why, finding your Focus
Over the years, the causes have varied considerably, locally and global, from Rotary and Circus Quirkus, through to World Vision, Basket Brigade and others, reflecting the journey of life. Things do, however, change, as can our focus.
Like all too many families, very sadly, the “Big C”, Cancer, can knock on your door and is truly unwelcome visitor. For my Wife, Emma and I, both of our immediate families have been touched by this insidious disease.
My wife’s sister, as a child, had a cancerous Brain tumour – she still has it – but at least now she has it under control. Ironically, she has taken a career path as an Oncology Specialist at our local hospital – talk about turning something from a negative to a positive, where her personal experience helps her guide so many people on their journey. My Mother, sadly, was less fortunate in her battle, despite tackling it head on, with dignity and an incredibly brave mindset.
As you would expect, we have made Cancer and its treatment, our primary focus for support. Having such a strong and emotional why, for us, has made it very clear as to what we want to do with our money.
Things we all need
Sadly, all too often, things can become very political, when it comes to choosing a cause to stand up for. However, irrespective of your politics, background, ethnicity or income, at one time or another we all need help from our Hospital.
In partnership with the Gold Coast University Hospital Foundation, we were able to find “our cause” and direct our help right to the very area that meant the most to us. This year, being able to provide a dedicated facility for teenagers and adolescents as they push through their fight with Cancer. Believe it or not, this is one of the biggest growing demographics for Cancer and the really nasty types too.
We have already seen in the media that this facility is not only getting very well used, it is making a real difference for the patients, and we can see our funding has gotten right to the cause and precisely where we wanted it.
The best deals are always a win/win
Being a Professional Trader and with Emma being a Lawyer, we both spend our professional lives in very Darwinian environments, where each decision or deal is based on a real win or a real loss.
This part of life, I guess our professional lives aren’t necessarily our identity, continues to remind us both that it is possible to make a difference. More importantly, in a way that is a positive result for all parties and gives us a great fulfillment in that we are able to make a real impact in our community.
Of course, the cynics out there will no doubt have a moan, “its all about tax deductions, PR” or whatever, in which case, they should feel free to do the same. Big or small, time or money, all donations help.
For the back end of the year, we will be helping Make A Wish, and the great work they do helping patients and patient families have some white light at the end of a dark tunnel.
This is a really personal thing for so many and I know that finding a cause close to our hearts, as a family, provides us with a great deal of gratification, while at the same time genuinely helps other. Find your why, follow it through and make a difference.