My son and I recently celebrated my Dad’s 68th birthday by taking him to dinner and then surprising him with a few dapper neckties to add to his extensive collection. You see, my Dad is a “giver”. When I say giver, I mean this in every sense of the term. He gives so much of himself that I honestly believe he’s forgotten how to receive.
Ever since I can remember, someone has always relied on my Dad to “help out”. When I was a little girl, I can recall him being the first one to arrive to unlock the doors to our church and being the last to leave – after the grounds were cleared and the trash was taken out.
I recall him helping his co-workers, who were single parents, make ends meet until payday – all while providing for his own wife and six children. I remember him driving our classmates home from after school programs, when their parents’ work schedules didn’t permit them to. Even today, he calls me at least once a week to ask if I “need anything”. He knows I am gainfully employed and married with a child of my own, yet he always has to be sure that I am okay.
But, on the flip side, my Dad has a hard time receiving. Even on his birthday, he actually tried to reimburse me for part of the restaurant tab. I insisted that he let me celebrate him for a change. I explained to him that living a purposeful life is about helping those in need, as well as our families who depend on us, but purposeful living is also about understanding that it is perfectly okay to be celebrated every once in a while. Of course he became teary eyed, by my brief sermon, and said that he sincerely appreciated me and my son thinking of him on his special day. He even called, a couple of days later, to graciously thank us again.
The moral of the story is that we must be cheerful givers and even more cheerful recipients. Remember, there’s always someone on the receiving end who might brush your gesture off as “oh, you didn’t have to”. But I can reassure that you’ll make an impression upon their hearts that will leave them wanting to spread the love – and continue receiving it.
By N. Renee McFadden, Co-Publisher