The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Monday, December 31, 2012

Putting Generosity (and Rants and Blame) into Proper Perspective

by aLfie vera mella

There's one story I read on an exchange of posts with a Facebook friend of mine. It is about a boy who apparently posted his rants on Facebook about his father's decision to give away the bonus money that he received from work to victims of typhoon instead of using the money to buy the iPhone that he had long been hoping for as a Christmas gift from his father.

Apparently, the boy's rant involved blaming the typhoon victims for having "taken away" the money that was supposed to be for his iPhone.

I have a few issues about this story.

First, if I am the father, I would prioritize first the needs and Christmas wishes of my son/children. I will buy him the iPhone, especially that he had been hoping for this for a while now. I may give something to charity but not give away my entire bonus that would leave me nothing to spend on my gifts to my own family.

Then, if I am the boy, I would "bark at the right dog"; I would not blame the typhoon victims because these people did not ask for the money from his father; rather, I would assume that it's his dad who chose to give his bonus money to these strangers. I'd instead talk to my father and let him know my feelings about what he did, but I would not rant about such resentments publicly online.

There are two types of generous people--the inward generous and the outward generous.

Inward generous are people who prioritize first the needs of their family or help first people from within their circle--family, relatives, friends--before giving extra to people they don't really know.

Outward generous are people who prioritize helping other people over the needs or wishes of their family.

A good balance of generosity, of course, is better. However, I will still prioritize the needs of my family. If I want to give to charity, this doesn't need to be a big amount, and this should come from my extra money. Also it depends on how much money I have. But in terms of percentage--a bigger portion will still need to be spent on my family's needs and not on other people's needs.


  • At Tuesday, January 01, 2013 6:54:00 PM, Anonymous rainbow said…

    Family first is thy neighbor for the purpose of living is to help others when you are already capable of doing so....the pathway of life's purpose is when you destined to be a leader,doctor,nurse,advocate ,tycoon,lawyer or when you have more than a boxing match income.God choose this people and destined to help the needy...if not,we should first help our own self and our family.

  • At Wednesday, January 02, 2013 6:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes, we should prioritize our family's needs. While doing so, we should also teach our children to long for something they do not have. If the child has already an iPhone, then he/she should not want for another gadget similar to the iPhone next Christmas. One is enough, I think.

  • At Thursday, January 03, 2013 1:59:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    I think I have to add more insights to the issue.

    1) It depends also on the type of gadget the kid is asking--if it is really something that he would need, or if it is not too expensive, or if he already has something like that but just wanted a newer version.

    2) My issue about the boy in the story is about his tactlessness and seeming inability to talk with his father directly about his misgivings. It makes me wonder what kind of relationship the son and the father have--because if they are close with each other, the boy would have easily confided in his dad whatever he felt about the situation. If they have an open-communication relationship, the boy did not need to rant on the Internet about his father, putting dirty laundry in the open when they could wash it in private first.

    3) As to the father, I am still baffled why he chose to give more to strangers than to his own son. What could be his reasons? I'd love to hear the father's side of the story. I wouldn't judge the father; all I am writing here are, after all, observations based on possible factors.

    Ultimately, I write not to judge specific individuals but primarily to assess circumstances, try to understand how people react to situations, offer various perspectives, and finally to share my own insights and personal stance and principles about certain issues.

  • At Thursday, January 03, 2013 5:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Keep on writing Alf. You make people like me who read your write-ups realize mistakes and affirm some decisions. Thanks for writing. Taking time to write and sharing your thoughts is a kind of generosity.


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