A Girl of Wisdom plans acts of kindness (continued!)

daisiesSo, what do “acts of kindness” look like? Is it all about money and buying things for people? NO! That’s just one way. Actively planning ways in which you can express kindness to somebody else doesn’t have to be only based on spending money. It can be based on giving someone your time, hard work and talents. Check out these ideas…

  • Maybe you have noticed that your parents are very tired this week. Without being asked, plan to set the table before dinner is ready. Or perhaps you could find out which day the rubbish collection takes place and the night before, take the rubbish bins out. A few minutes of your time could make all the difference to your parents’ week!
  • You could be really good at a subject in school or university, yet you know one of your friends is having a tough time understanding the assignment. Plan to set aside a few hours of your time one afternoon or on the weekend and offer to help her. Bring some chocolate (good for the brain!) and turn it into some fun too! Since when does learning and studying have to be boring?
  • Maybe you have other talents that could be used to plan an act of kindness… You could be great at baking cookies and cakes, fantastic at doing hair and make-up, amazing at writing letters or using computers…
  • How about the elderly couple that live down the road? Imagine the difference you would make in their lives if you offered to visit them once a week, once a fortnight or once a month. You could give some of your time to help them clean up their kitchen, hang out some laundry or simply, chat with them and give them some refreshing company.
  • Get together with some other Girls of Wisdom and plan a surprise party for one of your friends who is feeling sad. It doesn’t have to be her birthday- just throw the party because you love her and want to cheer her up!

With a little thoughtful planning, creativity and imagination, your kindness could be the very act that brightens up someone’s day, making them feel valued and giving them hope. A Girl of Wisdom really is a great girl to have around!

A Girl of Wisdom is generous (continued!)

save-moneyI firmly believe that a Girl of Wisdom is wise with her money. Even as a teenager or young woman, she knows how to budget and how to save for the future. After all, how can you be generous if you have no wisdom in looking after your own money?

I encourage you to start actively deciding how you will spend your money. If you don’t already have a budget, make one! Use the budget activity in this chapter to help you. It’s really easy! Here are some simple steps-

  • Add up how much money you earn each week (pocket money, part-time job, chores, babysitting etc)
  • Add up how much you spend each week, which is not paid for by your parents or others, but comes out of the money you earn (food from the school shop, mobile phone credit, going out with friends, make-up, clothes etc.)
  • Your budget will quickly reveal how much you can really spend each week- you may need to adjust how much you go out or find cheaper ways of having fun!
  • Now for two challenges… in your budget, include money especially for generosity and saving for the future.
  • Challenge 1: Put aside 10% of your weekly money (for example, if you earn $50 in a week, put aside $5). This is to be spent on someone else for no reason… a little gift, buying them some food at school, getting them a card or just giving them the actual money if they need it!
  • Challenge 2: Save $1 per day ($7 per week) and put it into a separate savings account that yields high interest and that is hard to access. Get a parent, older sibling or another adult to help you do this if you are not sure of the different bank accounts especially designed for saving money. AND DO NOT TOUCH IT EVER!! Let it grow and by the time you finish school, you will have a great sum of cash to help towards buying a car, going away on a trip or another major purchase.

I once heard a great statement that I have never forgotten. A person, talking about money and being generous, stated, “Your money may leave your hand, but it will never leave your life.”

Think about that for a moment. When you choose to be generous, the actual cash may come out of your wallet and leave your hand, but the joy of knowing you have made a difference in somebody else’s life is worth more than any amount of cash. And what you sow, you shall reap- what goes around, eventually comes around. And nobody can take that away from you.

A Girl of Wisdom is generous!

11483046-woman-giving-her-friend-a-gift“The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”

Proverbs 11:24 & 25 (MSG)

I remember a time many years ago (before getting married and having a baby) when I was shopping with one of my friends and found myself wishing, “If only I had more money….” There were so many cool clothes, shoes, bags and make-up products surrounding me, yet limited cash in my wallet! On my way home, I found myself thinking about all the things that I didn’t have and to be quite honest, I started feeling sorry for myself!

Later on that evening, I remembered a conversation I’d had with a friend who was really struggling financially. A series of unfortunate situations had left her without much money and she was finding it hard to pay for necessary things, like food and bills- forget about clothes, shoes, bags and make-up products! I suddenly felt very grateful for what I did have and immediately, I started thinking of ways that I could help my friend get through this tough time.

TV ads, magazines and the internet send us messages that what we currently have is not good enough. There is always the latest iPhone, iPad and iPod that you must have. As soon as you purchase the latest brand of clothing, it becomes out of fashion and another brand replaces it.

You see, when you are feeling dissatisfied with what you have and you focus on all the things you wish you had, you don’t think about the needs of others. A discontented person who doesn’t realise how fortunate they actually are will never be able to generously help someone else in need. They become stingy and tight-fisted with money. And when they do give money to someone, it’s with an expectation that it is paid back.

However, when you are genuinely grateful for what you do have (and this doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a wish list of things you are wanting!) it enables you to become outward focused and generous. Your hand doesn’t cling so tightly to every dollar anymore. You freely pay for something for another person, without expecting them to pay it back.

Becoming a generous person is, once again, a choice you need to make. Start small. The next time you go to the movies with a friend and you get to the ticket counter, surprise your friend by paying for her ticket too. Or maybe pay for both of your popcorn and drinks. The next time you buy yourself a pretty pair of earrings, buy another pair and give it to a friend as a gift for “no reason.” Why should gifts require a reason? Why limit gifts to birthdays, Christmas, weddings and special occasions?

And you know what? I really believe in the old saying, “treat others the way you would like to be treated.” The moment you start being generous, you will notice others being generous towards you. Not that you choose to be generous in order to get things in return, but it will be a natural result of you desiring to be a giver rather than a receiver.

In our next blog post, we will talk about practical tips on making the most of your money!

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