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Posts Tagged ‘giving’

As we approach the height of the holiday season, you are likely to find many people seeking the perfect gifts for their friends, family members and loved ones. We all have that one person in our life who is tricky to gift. Maybe it’s a child who has too many toys to count, or maybe it’s a parent or grandparent who seems to have everything he or she could possibly need. While finding an appropriate gift for each of these individuals can be challenging and even stressful, it is still rewarding to give. After all, we have all heard the saying “It’s better to give than receive”, and research actually backs up that popular quip! Studies show that giving can boost the physical and mental health of the giver in a multitude of ways.

This year, as you consider how to gift the loved ones in your life, consider these three “out of the box” ideas:

  1. Donations – For my nephew’s first birthday, a coworker suggested I make a donation to our local zoo in his name. The zoo sent an “adoption” certificate for an animal of my choosing, along with a color photo and fun fact sheet on the animal. For a few extra dollars, a stuffed animal is also an option. In addition to local zoos, you could also donate to animal shelters, food pantries, international organizations or community non-profits, depending on what the recipient values.

    Flamingo

    A flamingo fact sheet provided by the Columbus Zoo as part of the “adopt-an-animal” donation I made in my nephew’s name.

  2. Homemade Gifts – Use your personal skills and talents to make crafts or DIY gifts that carry meaning to your recipients. If you don’t feel very creative or crafty, begin by searching the internet for inspiration. This year, my sister and I attended a wreath making class together. I paid her registration fee as a gift and then gave the wreath I made myself to my grandparents. Other handmade gift ideas may include flower arrangements, greeting cards, quilts or blankets, wall art or homemade food. However, if you choose to make food for others, keep in mind the personal health goals or concerns that recipients may have.

    wreath

    The wreath I made for my grandparents in a wreath-making class I attended with my sister.

  3. Experiential Gifts – Think about things that the gift recipient may enjoy doing. Perhaps you could purchase tickets to an upcoming concert or play, or buy a family membership to your local zoo or a museum. Some recipients may enjoy monthly wine or flower subscriptions, or a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership.

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1.#@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Bea, S. (2016). Wanna Give? This is Your Brain on a “Helper’s High”. The Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/11/why-giving-is-good-for-your-health/

Marsh, J. and Suttie, J. (2013). 5 Ways Giving is Good For You. The Greater Good Magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you 

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While on a recent family vacation in another state, my sister ended up in the Emergency Department at a hospital. She had multiple fractures in her foot and ended up in a cast up to her knee. This injury was the result of her long term Type 1 Diabetes. She recently had a heart stent put in and had been walking about a mile a day – for her heart health. Little did she know that she had multiple fractures in her foot. Now it made sense that her foot swelled so much each evening.

This experience showed us the kindness of strangers that I want to share. We experienced several random acts of kindness during this time. Research shows that random acts of kindness and generosity increase happiness in the giver. The medical staff fit her with crutches and instructed her to keep weight off her foot. This sounds like an easy task but it can be challenging to maneuver crutches. She was able to get around but still struggled with the crutches.

Kindness

The next day she wanted to sit at the pool by the beach to watch family members parasail. If you are mobile, this is easy, just walk in and sit by the pool. It isn’t so easy if you are on crutches. But…. we experienced another act of kindness – a little boy (approximately 10 years old) stood there holding the gate until my sister could get in. A puddle of dirty pool water was inside the gate; his sister saw it, took her towel, and dried the cement so that Debbie didn’t get her cast wet. I looked at the mother and said she doesn’t have to do that with her towel – their mother said, “that’s ok” and let her do it. I was so touched that they knew the importance of being kind to a stranger. Someone in their family taught them to think of others.

Another instance we experienced included having a Physical Therapist Assistant ask if we needed help with the crutches as my sister made her way to the restroom on our drive home. She said the crutches are not the right height for her and asked if we wanted her to adjust them so that they fit. We said, “of course, we need all the help we can get” and she sat down on a bench, took the crutches and adjusted them on the spot. This made it so much easier to maneuver. We told the PT Assistant thanks for asking and she said sometimes she isn’t sure if she should interfere – we told her, yes! Her act of kindness helped us and we were grateful.

Another act of kindness included people holding the doors open as we struggled to move around with the crutches. This happened many times over our last few days of vacation.

Why is it important to share these experiences? As parents or grandparents, you can foster kindness in children. This short YouTube video featuring Dr. Christine Carter, “Raising Kind Kids” from Greater Good Science Center UC Berkeley shares a few key suggestions to encourage kids to be kind.

Are you ready to experience happiness by giving to others? Take this “Random Acts of Kindness” Challenge by doing 5 random acts in one day. Record how you feel and comment on their page. Another fun option is to pass out these Smile Cards. Complete an act of kindness, leave the Smile Card and keep the spirit going!

What are you waiting for? Try kindness today!

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Sources:

Breines, J., Three Strategies for Bringing More Kindness into Your Life, retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_strategies_for_bringing_more_kindness_into_your_life

Carter, C., Raising Kind Kids, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley, YouTube retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/video/item/raising_kind_kids

Random Acts of Kindness Challenge, Greater Good in Action, University of California – Berkeley’s Greater Good Center, retrieved from: UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.  http://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/random_acts_of_kindness

Smile Cards, KindSpring.org retrieved from: http://www.kindspring.org/smilecards/

 

 

 

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