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Posts by jacqueline
Ebenezer Scrooge begins The Christmas Carol with a “Bah humbug!”
He is both miserly and miserable. As the story unfolds, he eventually discovers the “giver’s glow,” as I like to call it. He is dancing on the streets in his new found generosity of heart. A glow stick is a translucent plastic tube containing substances that when combined make light through a chemical reaction. After the glass capsule in the plastic casing is broken, it glows. The brokenness is part of the process. Give and glow. Scrooge discovered this at last.
Rt. 80 out west shoots a little under Montana, where old Walter Breuning seemed to grasp this basic truth from early in life. Born in 1896, Walter, the world’s oldest man and a retired railroad clerk who lived in three centuries, died at age 114 on April 13, 2011, in Great Falls, where he had lived since 1918. Even as his health began to decline in the two years before his death, he is described as a cheerful soul. “He had that generosity of spirit in him,” said his pastor, the Rev. Terry Turner of the local 1st United Methodist Church. Rev. Turner shared a prayer with Walter just an hour before the supercentenarian died. Walter’s parents died at ages 50 and 46, and four siblings lived to be 78, 85, 91 and 100. He had a fine memory. He ate only two meals a day, and never ate supper or at night. He had a big breakfast with a lot of fruit, and lunch. He claimed he “drank water all the time.” He arose at 6:15 each morning. Walter recommended that people work as long as they can. He worked his entire career on the railroad until he officially retired but in fact he kept working until he was 99. Another life lesson was this: “The more you do for others, the better shape you’re in.” He also had lots of friends at Rainbow Senior Living. A celebrity in his old age who was interviewed widely, Walter was plain spoken and urged people to work hard and to be kind to each other. (From articles in The Great Falls Tribune.com, Great Falls, Montana. Of special interest was Richard Ecke’s “World’s Oldest Man Brightened Others’ Lives to the End,” 15 April 2011.)
“No man [or woman] can sincerely help another without helping himself.”
“To be good is to be in harmony with oneself.”
“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
Proverbs 11:25 reads,
“Those who refresh others are themselves refreshed.”
While most people already know this from experience, there are some fMRI studies of the brain showing that planning a donation activated the mesolimbic pathway, which is associated with increased dopamine (one of four natural happiness chemicals). Helping others directly triggered activity in the caudate nucleus and anterior cingulate, portions of the brain that turn on when people experience happiness. No wonder, then, that old St. Nick (a.k.a. “Santa Claus”) is always laughing and cheerful as he gives out his gifts. And no wonder that most of us actually do take a little more joy in giving gifts than in receiving them. In the end, the brain science is not terribly surprising, although it does confirm the obvious.
Is it really more blessed to give than to receive?
Do benevolent people experience higher levels of mental well-being? Are they healthier, and do they live longer? Increasingly, mainstream scientists are studying kindly, charitable interest in others, and the behaviours that go along with it, to find out whether there are associated health benefits. More significant relevant than brain science is the 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey, released by United Healthcare and VolunteerMatch surveyed 4,500 American adults. 41 percent of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68 percent of those who volunteered reported that volunteering made them feel physically healthier. In addition,
- · 89% report that “volunteering has improved my sense of well-bring”
- · 73% agree that “volunteering lowered my stress levels”
- · 92% agree that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life
- · 72% characterize themselves as “optimistic” compared to 60% of non-volunteers
- · 42% of volunteers report a “very good” sense of meaning in their lives, compared with 28% of non-volunteers
- · 96% said volunteering made them “feel happier”
If any compound could be invented to even come close to these results that manufacture would make trillions of dollars, because in truth of fact there are no existing mood drugs that make anything like this much of an impact.
About the Author:
Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. is the best-selling author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping and Why Good Things Happen to Good People, as listed by the Wall Street Journal. He speaks widely on themes of benevolent love and compassionate care at the interface of science, health, spirituality, and philanthropy. His work has been featured in periodicals such as Parade Magazine and O: The Oprah Magazine, and on such media venues as The Daily Show, John Stossel, 20/20 and Nightline. He has addressed the U.S. Congress on volunteerism and public health.
365give is Back with a Brand New Mission to Change the World
365give inspires to be a global movement mobilizing and empowering children through education to change the world one day at a time, one give at a time.
How it all Began
In 2010 one mother wanted to change the world. She wanted to do it with her 3 year old son to teach him about giving back to the world. She made a commitment for 1 year – 365 days – to teach her son to give and to change the world one day at a time. 365give started as an online journal (blog) about one mothers journey of giving with her son and the momentum has grown and evolved into something that could change the way children learn.
365give: The Evolution
A few short years later two dedicated Mothers have collaborated to grow 365give from blog to The 365give Challenge. This is a new educational program for children that will be implemented directly into schools and into their classrooms. Teachers will work with their class and incorporate giving directly into their regular classroom curriculum’s. Each school participating will complete one daily give every day of the school year. Students will be empowered as a class to create “daily gives” big or small that will impact the school, the community and the world around them.
A 365give book will be created to record each and every give completed by the students. The book will be used as an educational tool incorporating visual arts, writing skills, and collaboration between classmates. The 365give Challenge has the ability to change the way children learn.
Giving has been scientifically proven to improve self esteem, lower stress, increase a child’s ability to learn and bring them into community in a new and exciting way. It will empower children to make decisions to find ways to give that will improve the world they live in.
We are running The 365give Challenge as a pilot project starting in January 2014 with select classes at Ecole Pauline Johnston and West Vancouver Premier Sports Academy. In partnership with these teachers and students we plan to make The 365give Challenge an easy and beneficial program that could be integrated into the fabric of any school curriculum.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding the pilot project and upcoming plans for the fall of 2014.
“Sometimes the strength of Motherhood is greater than natural laws” - Barbara Kingsoliver
There are lists and lists of things to get “Mom” for Mother’s Day but this story is truly the #1 greatest gift any Mom could ask for – her life. This is the story of a Mother’s life that was saved by love, hard work, hope and one big miracle. A few months ago I shared a story of a Mother in desperate need of help from the world. (One Match to Save a Mother’s Life) Myy dear friend Erica needed a bone marrow transplant to save her life. She had been diagnosed with a deadly case of leukaemia and was told she only had only months to live unless a bone marrow donor could be found.
This is her story. A story of being a Mom with two beautiful boys, a remarkable husband, a story of community, a story of hope and a story of the greatest gift a Mom could ever want.
The gift of life.
Guest Post by Erica Harris
When I was asked by Jacqueline (founder of 365give) to write a little synopsis of my journey in honour of this very special Mother’s Day, my mind instantly brought me back to my Mother’s Day celebration last year. The day started with a wonderful wake up, spoiled by drawings and wee surprises. And after a fun filled family brunch with the in laws, my oldest son, then 4, then took me on a “date” – we rode the bus in absolute glee and smiled away at an afternoon kids concert. Beautiful day, beautiful memories. Not once did I then consider what would arise in the weeks to come as even a distant possibility.
Last spring as I spent a fun morning at the aquarium with my boys, I picked up an urgent message regarding a relatively routine lab I had done hours earlier. Thinking there must be some confusion as my results couldn’t be in that quickly, I then learned I was to avoid all public places as my immune system was so comprised. My final diagnosis of acute leukemia came within a few short days. Hours following this, a bed was made available for me in the province’s Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant unit at Vancouver General Hospital.
I had no time to prepare myself, or my family for this huge upheaval. I embarked on my new path in shock and disbelief. For one so passionate about life, health and wellness this was just not within the realms of possibilities. My heart simply ached at the thought of being separated from my angels and not having any idea where to start explaining what had transpired and why mama would not be home.
I had no idea what was to lie ahead- the tubes, the machines, the surgeries, the days of isolation as a result of life threatening septic infections, the endless gut retching nausea, the frequent bone marrow biopsies, the exhausting night sweats, the ongoing blood transfusions, etc. What was assumed to be an original 3-4 week stay resulted in a full 2 month stay as the original chemotherapy proved unsuccessful. After I did not respond to what is referred to as “salvage” chemotherapy, I given a 2 month diagnosis, perhaps 6 months at best and offered no further treatment aside from palliative care. A second opinion in Seattle at one of the leading US leukaemia treatment centers confirmed the prognosis. So despite having had just received the amazing news that perfect 10/10 bone marrow donor was found on my behalf (after great efforts on behalf of One Match, the VGH team, my incredible husband and our amazing team of support who started their own missions to spread awareness), I learned the very next day it was an unattainable goal as I first had to be in remission to be eligible for transplant. After hearing this prognosis, I knew I just needed to be home with my family. I did just that- the team at VGH reluctantly discharged me the next morning. And with the strength of my 3 handsome loves by my side, I gained strength and “our fight” began.
On every step of this road, our family has been embraced by an amazing circle of love and support. Friends, family and and complete strangers sent messages of love and inspiration, devoted hours on our behalf to prayer, meditation, research on alternative approaches and leading health care providers in the field, cared for our babes, donated blood, prepared meals, shopped, and helped in any/every way possible. All of this paved the way to a very unexpected victory in ‘our fight”….and by the grace of God, the healing hands of my beautiful angel babes, the world’s best husband by my side, and our incredible team of support, my labs started to reflect some change and very slight optimism that at least the disease was not progressing at a rate that was originally anticipated. Another biopsy was scheduled and we learned I had attained remission.
Our head Doc said there was absolutely no explanation he could offer aside from saying it was a true miracle.
I was then eligible for transplant, which I had at the end of October. Although I am still on a rather bumpy road while adapting an entirely new immune system from an unrelated superstar donor, I am now moving full steam ahead and getting stronger every day. I am not yet off this big detour but I get to be here to be the first to greet my angels when they wake and the last to kiss them goodnight.
I am over the moon to be able to conquer most of my mama routines on most days.
As I picked up my oldest from kindergarten the other day, I stood from a far as I approached the field. He was running about laughing away with his friends, so enthralled in their game and so incredibly happy. I had tears of joy just being able to see this moment. As I stood there thinking how difficult it may soon be to tug him away from this fun for our trek home, he saw me from across the playground. Instantly, he sprinted towards me shouting to all with such excitement “there is MY Mom!” with his arms outstretched to dive into mine. My now 3 year old sets out on his daily missions to find mama treasured rocks, pine cones, or the prettiest weed of the day and shares them with me in the sweetest, highest pitched voice as he tells says he loves me soooo much. These slower days have welcomed so many quiet simple moments on the home front and these moments are true bliss. I thank God every day for my incredible blessings. My heart shines in ways I never imagined possible simply to hold their hands in mine.
This road has obviously been an unexpected lofty toll- from my husband not working for months on end to be my side, to additional child care costs, to the cost of uncovered medications and the countless supplements, to ensuring every nutrient consumed is of the highest quality, and the many expenses of fees incurred from professionals we sought along the way for many consults/treatments.
Jacqueline’s mission with 365give and her amazing compassion for those experiencing difficult times exemplifies such heartfelt surprises and blessings that have helped ease our path by so many ways. Further, Jacqueline spread the word about One Match registration instantly upon hearing the urgent need. The love, generosity, time and kindness that have been extended to us along the way will remain in our hearts on this very special upcoming mother’s day, and every day.
Happy, happy Mother’s Day to all!