Image courtesy of Ben Grey
I grew up in a small town in Canada before moving to the ‘big city’ of Calgary when I was 14. One major difference I noticed right away was the disparity between the haves and have nots. Sure, there was rich and poor in the town I had grown up in, but I don’t remember seeing it displayed in such a noticeable way as I did in Calgary.
For the most part, my parents never made any remarks about a person’s wealth, but there was this one friend of my parents who had a lot of money and owned property in various places including a cabin in Montana. She drove a nice car, but nothing flashy. She didn’t act rich, but she certainly was. One day, she was over at our place and the topic of skiing came up. She mentioned that she had this place in Montana and that she was more than happy to have people stay there for free any time we wanted. It wasn’t one of those ‘I’ll make the offer so that I can show you how much money I have’ type of statements, it was a genuine ‘what’s mine is yours’ sort of thing. After she left, my parents remarked that it wasn’t good or bad to be rich, it is what you do with what you have that makes the difference.
Another story comes from an offbeat British fellow named Jamie McDonald who is currently running across Canada to raise money for various hospitals for sick children. He doesn’t have a support team or even a real plan other than to get across Canada before his visa runs out! He is a genuinely nice guy who would give someone the shirt off his back if need be. Don’t take my word for it, read his posts on Twitter and Facebook and you will see that he doesn’t have much, but he is giving all that he can to help others.
I am starting to realize how important it is that we share with others what we have in terms of our experience and expertise. You might have a wealth of knowledge gained through education and / or experience, or you might be someone who is just starting out your journey and you don’t think you have a lot to give. Either way, I think it is important that we share what we have. I don’t have the most educational training or the most experience by any means, but what I do learn from others or through trial and error (lots of error), I hope I don’t keep it to myself. I know I do sometimes, but I’m learning and hopefully changing.
I sometimes get a bit discouraged when I am on Facebook or Twitter when I see how little I know in comparison to others. It is in that moment that I try to stop myself from thinking that way. No, I am not the ‘richest’ person in the world when it comes to knowledge or experience, but I can give a little. Sometimes a little is all it takes. I don’t think Jamie would turn down any amount of money as a donation to his cause. Those little donations eventually come together to become a larger sum.
So what can you do? How can you help others? Well, did you learn something today? Share it! It doesn’t even have to be something profound or new, but if you just learned about it today, I bet there are many others who don’t know it either. Speak up. Tweet. Post on Facebook. Blog. Post it on the whiteboard in the teachers’ lounge. You know who will benefit from it? All of us. And you.