Lessons From Nelson Mandela On Giving
Nelson Mandela on giving has got to be one of the most powerful role models for us. He inspired us during his struggle and continues to inspire us after through his legacy. July 18th is International Nelson Mandela Day, his birthday, and celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world. Each individual has the ability to make an impact. We can all do actions that fight poverty, promote peace, celebrate and embrace cultural diversity, through volunteerism and community service.
Could that be more powerful? Could Nelson Mandela on giving align any closer with our mission to empower people to change the world through the action of giving, one day, one give at a time? I feel that I have learned hundreds of lessons from Nelson Mandela, with five lessons being forefront in my mind, and I hope forefront in yours as well. His use of peaceful protest, through kindness and shared experiences is a lesson we can all embrace, and use every day.
Kindness Is A Catalyst for Change
Being kind to others, true kindness, does generate change. Giving to others is a way of being kind, and we are full supporters of that idea! We also know it does change the world, situations, communities and people, when they start giving and being kind every day. Consider this scenario. Someone is struggling to put a heavy box in their car. They are frustrated, having a hard time and are just about to give up. You can either walk by this person and let them have a difficult time, leaving them in a state of defeat, or you can offer to help them with the box. Their frown turns to a smile. They thank you and share this story at home with their partner, a family member or their neighbour. You took three minutes out of your day and turned a frown into smile by giving to someone who you did not know. Both of you feel good about the task and the positive story is shared with others. That is kindness. That sparks change in people.
Here are some other gives that share kindness and spark change in you and others:
- Smile at a stranger when you walk by them.
- Help a senior cross a busy street.
- Bake cookies and deliver them to a friend, a co-worker, a neighbour, or family member.
- Give a ride to someone going to the grocery store. Or even better, do their shopping for them, during COVID, to decrease social contact.
Nelson Mandela On Giving – Forgiveness Is Key
Did a friend miss a lunch break? Did an co-worker not make a deadline for your project? Did a family member forget your birthday? Did someone say something unkind to you? Forgiveness is powerful and a great give when the opportunity arises. People are not perfect, and we do make mistakes. Forgiveness of others imperfections will make your life easier and teach a valuable lesson to others. Forgiveness of ourselves is also important. If we harbour anger, pain, resentment and unhappiness, it is hard to make room for happiness in our lives. Forgive for your next give and the door to happiness will open a bit wider.
Change Begins From The Inside Out
When we talk about our 365 Challenge, we look at ways each of us can start a daily giving habit to increase our own personal happiness. We also know that your actions will spread happiness to others, but making change does start inside each of us first. We have shared the research on happiness and how to build a habit. But the only way we will change the world is if we change ourselves first. So let start that change first, and give every day, one small act of giving so we change the world, one give at a time!
End Right Vs Being Right
Being Right comes from ego. Ending right comes from the heart. When we give we are ending right, and make the world a better place. When we give daily it is not a big show of giving, it is completing one small give for another person that just makes the day a good one, and ends the day right. Here are some giving ideas that will have you end right:
- Say thank you to someone who does something nice or courteous
- Do an extra chore around the house that no one is expecting you to do
- Plant an extra flower, or herb, or tree in your yard that the butterflies and bees will like
- Make a present or piece of art work out of recycled items
- Read a book to a child or give a book you are finished with to someone who would like it
- Take a 3 minute shower to save water
Bond Over Shared Experiences
This has to be one of my favorite lessons, and have supported this for my entire life. I was tought this as a child and continue it into my adult life, with my kids, my friends and my family. My life has been richer by sharing experiences, and others have appreciated the ‘I see you’ moments when we have asked others to share in our experiences. My kids are wonderful at recognizing when someone is left out, or are playing on their own, or feeling lonely and could use a good old laugh. This message extends even further today as we start the conversation, again, about racial injustice and inequalities, teaching us to share our experiences and listen to the experiences of others so we can all find a way to learn, understand and right the wrongs of our society, policies and historical wrongs. Sharing and asking others to share is a true ‘I see’ moment that is a powerful give.
Volunteer on July 18th to Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day
Volunteer remotely or in person on July 18th to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day. Pick one of his passions, fight poverty, promote peace, and support cultural diversity. This give would honor the man Nelson Mandela was and what he tought us, teachings that ring true in 202 and clearly show that his fight for justice and equality is not finished yet.
Join the 365give community to find more giving ideas and share your giving experiences with others. Change happens when we each embrace a small, positive idea and make it a daily habit. You too can be part of our global change network when you join us.