Tag Archives: helping others

GIVERS AND TAKERS

Professor Stevens stood at the front of his classroom, nodding to each student as they entered the room for his 8:00 AM math class. As the last of the two-hundred students sat down, the smart screen on the wall behind the professor started flashing GIVERS AND TAKERS. The students began whispering to each other, wondering why the professor was displaying such a sign in his math class.

GiversTakers

A loud voice from the rear of the room bellowed, “Professor Stevens, I think you have the wrong graphic displayed on the smart-screen. This isn’t a sociology class—um, is it?!?”

Inquisitive whispers turned into laughter at question. Professor Stevens smiled and replied, “Danny, I’m happy to hear that you think you know where you are at this early hour. I believe there’s hope for you yet, my boy” as the laughter increased a few dozen decibels.

“No, Danny. This isn’t a sociology class, but I want to share an important experiment with all of you today. If you prefer to use math terminology, think of the graphic as PLUSES AND MINUSES in life. I’ll have questions at the end of the lecture, so listen carefully. Your answers may play a significant role in your final semester grade.”

With that comment, silence suddenly filled the room.

Professor Stevens’ Experiment

“I have recently observed many down-on-their-luck folks sitting on sidewalks displaying signs requesting help from strangers who were walking by. You know—signs such as ‘I’m Hungry! Please Help!’ or ‘Need $ For Food’. The vast majority of the strangers walked past briskly, ignoring the signs and those seeking help. Most of them walked past near or in the street and some even looked away to avoid eye contact with the downtrodden individuals.

“I started thinking about this and decided to conduct a little experiment to see how people would respond to me in a similar situation. I dressed in old-tattered clothes and sat on the sidewalk of a busy street on two sequential Fridays. The weather on both days was the same—nice. I displayed one sign in front of me each day.

“On the first Friday, my sign read, ‘I’m Feeling Down! Please Help!’

StoreFrontFeelingDownBW

I was asking complete strangers to help me. Although I didn’t say what kind of help I needed, the vast majority of folks looked away, choosing to ignore me. They responded similar to what I described to you earlier. After sitting quietly for four hours, I had collected a whopping $1.36 in my little tin cup. The money came from three individuals who were dressed just like me. They had very little to offer materially, but they gave what they could with a smile, and even offered a few kind words of support to me. The nicely dressed individuals who passed by had much to offer me materially, but they elected to give me nothing—not even a kind word or a simple smile.

“The sign I used on the second Friday was, ‘Shake My Hand – I’ll Give You $10’.

StoreFrontGive10BW

I was offering something to strangers for a simple gesture, a handshake, and the outcome was completely different this time. Folks were drawn to the sign and me. By the end of the first hour, I had given away $360. Thirty-six people, all dressed in nice attire, stood in line waiting to shake my hand for a $10 bill. Some were likely among those who ignored me the week before. One of the gentleman who contributed $0.53 to me the first Friday stopped by again. He shook my hand, but I couldn’t get him to accept my ten-dollar gift. He wished me well and then walked away. By the end of the second hour, an additional seventy-five people had paused to shake my hand. I ran out of $10 bills at that point and left. By the way, those who received a $10 bill did not thank me, nor did they offer a smile.”

As Professor Stevens ended his lesson, the smart screen displayed, “GIVERS AND TAKERS – WHICH DESCRIBES YOU?

GiversTakersWhich

“Okay, Danny, since you so bravely challenged whether this was a math class, here’s a math problem for you. How many people received $10 from me?

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Professor Stevens’ simple experiment offers many points for discussion—some are obvious and others, not so much. Sorta makes you think about where we are today as a society, doesn’t it?

Are you a TAKER? Well, we all are at times, but we don’t have to be that way in all cases. Consider being a GIVER sometimes. It’s easy to do. Share a smile, speak kindly to someone, or simply do something nice for others—such things don’t cost you and you just might brighten someone’s day.

If you are a GIVER in any way, thank you. You are a blessing to others and just aced Professor Stevens’ math class. Congratulations!

Please share your thoughts on any points about Givers/Takers that interest you.

Bless you and have a nice day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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THROUGH THE EYES OF MY HEART

During my teen and young adult years, my mind sometimes ignored things my eyes saw. Back then, my little corner of the world was the most important thing to me, and there didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for anything else. As the years continued to pass, I managed to grow in wisdom and now see similar things, but in a different way—through the eyes of my heart.

EyesBW

You see, there was a time in life when I thought my family was at the center of the universe. I was living in a “me-me-me” world of selfishness, like many folks tend to do at times. I thought I was a good person, but there were times when I complained about insignificant things in life like:

  • being uncomfortable while sleeping in my own bed on a cold-winter’s night… then I saw a homeless man sleeping on a park bench wearing tattered clothes and no shoes
  • wearing glasses to restore my vision to 20/20… then I saw a blind man who was wearing a smile upon his face while whistling a cheerful tune as he walked by
  • my old aching legs… then I saw a man who had no legs, yet he was laughing while playing catch in the yard with his son
  • forgetting little, insignificant things… then I spoke to a friend who no longer remembers my name or the good times we once shared

I could continue my list of shallow complaints, but I’m sure you get the point. There are folks around us who are less fortunate than many of us, yet they are not complaining.

As I reflect on my poor-pitiful-me complaints, I have deep regrets for missing the opportunities I had to help others. A simple smile, kind gesture, or just saying hello could have made a small difference in someone’s day. I now see the plight of others with my heart and my mind understands how fortunate I am. I have so many blessings to be thankful for—far too numerous to count. Though some may seem small, each is a gift from God, and definitely much more than I deserve. I am truly blessed!

Now, I pray—Lord, I am grateful for the many gifts You have bestowed upon me. I ask that You give me the strength, courage, and desire to extend a helping hand to others who are in need while asking nothing of them in return. Help me to be a better person, and allow me to shine Your light upon others. For no matter the hurdles I encounter along my path, cheerfully supporting others I see on my journey is one of the greatest blessings I could ever receive. Amen.

HelpingHand

Acts 20:35 (NIV)

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

John 3:17 (NIV)

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels