While I walked I thought about giving and more specifically about generosity. This is the time of year for giving! But what does that mean? Isn’t giving part of what we do all year round as parents?! And how do we inspire giving, or rather, generosity and gratitude in the hearts and minds of our children, especially at this time of year?
As I walked, I thought about all the adoptive parents who come to the parents group I co-facilitate at Seneca Center and how much each adoptive parent gives of themselves night and day, to grow up their children. I thought about the benefit of being in a community and how we can be there for each other without expecting something in return. I truly believe that what comes around goes around in full circle. Generosity begets generosity. When I give food to the homeless, cook soup for a sick friend, or take time to truly listen to my daughter even though I am busy doing something else, it all comes back full fold sometime in the future. I saw this in action when I attended the Marin Foster Parent Association Holiday party. Each year many parents volunteer to create a beautiful festive occasion for the children and then together clean up and go home to put their children to bed. Generosity is seeing and doing what is needed in the moment. As a parent, it seems that generosity can involve being selfless at times and at other times it involves setting limits for yourself and your child. This is not easy to do, especially for foster/adopt parents who for the most part, take the task of parenting extremely seriously and have high expectations of themselves to do the right thing.
As I walked on the mountain I thought of how the tight places in my heart and mind can easily become spacious if I have the courage to do something different for myself and ultimately it benefits my daughter. I thought about all the times I have been the recipient of generosity from others. I thought of how practicing generosity has been like a medicine for me - a balm for releasing ill feeling, changing tight thoughts and letting in the light to tight old places.
Since my walk I have been more aware of the tight places in myself and I have made a conscious effort to seek out opportunities to practice generosity and good will. As in the Christmas Carol story by Dickens, the antidote to mean-spirited feelings and tightness is opening to generosity and gratitude in life. Happy Holidays to all!