Giving, but not giving back

Thoughts for too early on a Sunday morning:

We make it too easy to outsource compassion.  This thought woke me up this morning, maybe because I still have to do my taxes today.  Every year, I pay the government thousands of dollars to provide me with “government”.  Some of it is good, like roads and border control.  Some of it is stupid, like cowboy poetry festivals and paying artists to put crucifixes in urine.

And some of it I have mixed emotions about.  Some of the money goes to provide people with food, and shelter, and medical care.  These are all good and necessary activities, and I’m not going to rant today about how the way governments do this creates a culture of dependency.  (Disclaimer: it does.)

But they take away something from people that’s just as important — the opportunity to give.

Not the obligation to give.  We have plenty of that.  We give because we’re told to.  We give because we received when it was our turn.  We give “back” because we feel guilty about having too much.  But I wonder if we’re losing the ability to give simply because the opportunity arises. Continue reading