Financial success is a crucial element to our society, but the beginning of true wealth starts with thinking of others.
Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “The essence of life is to serve others and do good.” The concept of philanthropy is not new and not defined by giving millions.
Billy Graham said in a 1997 graduation ceremony, “Time is the capital from God that is yours to invest.” What he said goes beyond what society tells us about how we should be striving for power and money. Somehow, we have lost our way.
Time is a more precious resource than money. How you spend your time is the most important thing in your life. Reflecting on how we use our time is the crux of meeting our life goals and finding meaning and purpose.
Somehow over time, the demands and priorities of financial success became greater. There began more opportunities to create businesses so people could either work themselves or help work others out of poverty and into the middle class.
Yet, teaching young people about how important it is that we should all support each other is a vital component to our democratic republic. Schools used to teach a “civics” class. Civics is not even a word we talk about anymore.
Did civics get pushed to the side just like how we got rid of nap times in Kindergarten, shortened lunch and recess to 20-30 minutes, and stopped prioritizing the arts?
Can our world really evolve without the the basis of learning civic duty? Civics is about what we are called to do as a citizen in our society; how we can contribute to problems of our communities.
When you are young people ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Adults help you figure out what you enjoy doing and what you are good at to navigate your future career. Parents typically want to make sure you have enough success where you could provide for a family.
Maybe as a kid you’ll have some community service projects or parents who model volunteer work. Some have been active in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, but I’m willing to bet the average American youth doesn’t graduate high school and is asked, “What charities do you enjoy supporting?” or, “What is your favorite way to give back to others?”
Let’s re-define philanthropy to invite more to the table and renew our passion and essence of human connection and meaning.