Five Rules of Giving


I don’t always get it right. That was pretty obvious yesterday when I opened a “thank you” email. Although happy to be the recipient of some gratitude, I felt a twinge of shame. You see, in the spirit of giving, I extended a stranger a profession courtesy, no charge, no strings attached, just to be helpful and practice kindness. I like doing that. Later I grumbled in my head for at least 48 hours about the silence. Where was a gracious show of appreciation? I wanted something in return. Nothing much, just a thank you.

My “Aha” Moment

After receiving the email I realized the need to make some changes.  Obviously, due to my desire for gratitude, my act of kindness had a string attached.  A true and sincere giver expects nothing in return. Not only did I want a “thanks a lot,” I wanted it in my defined time frame. Like NOW! When I didn’t get it, I indulged in negative thoughts about allowing others to take advantage of me.

As this wasn’t the first time I found my  face red over fake selfless acts, I decided to teach myself a lesson and immediately  and began plotting to overcome my desire for give and take.

The result of my self-assigned homework, is my “List of Five.” Yep…five life rules I’m putting into action.


Rule Number One

If you’ve ever been to a second grader’s softball game, you may have noticed no one keeps score. Based on that philosophy, number one on my list of corrective action items is, “Throw away the scoreboard.”  That’s right. No more quid pro quo. No longer will I use a mental clipboard to keep score.

Passing On a Good Deed

Coupling my new rule with a familiar phrase and philosophy I penned, “Pay it forward,” as number two on my list. We’ve all been the recipient of kind acts. Passing on a random act of kindness makes our world a little brighter. My new mantra was kindness, whenever possible. As I considering it for a moment, I underlined it…TWICE!

One Way Giving

Often my expectations run high. Had I given freely, with no agenda, the thank you email would have been a sweet surprise making number three on my list, “Set no expectations.” 

Abundant Kindness

Reviewing my list, I smiled. Then another thought occurred to me. There is no such thing as too much kindness. Quickly I penned my number four, “Give, give and give some more.” 


Be My Best Self

Five seemed like the right number so the last thing I wrote is directed at being my best self. Any success I’ve experienced in my career was because I took my job seriously. Got it! My fifth and final rule is, “It is my job to be kind.”

This week I’m determined to put my big five into practice. Thanks for reading this post. I’d love to hear about your top five.

12 thoughts to “Five Rules of Giving”

  1. As alway, good, sound advice. I think we all can take this to heart. It’s too easy to forget to be kind especially when things don’t go our way.
    Love all your messages.

  2. I’m adopting all 5!
    Love your posts!
    BTW, in Judaism, Tzedakah (philanthropic donations) are best given anonymously. I always thought that this was to keep the giving spirit pure with no expectations of getting something is return — other than the reward of doing a kind deed.

  3. Love the “Aha” moment reflections — SO TRUE. As Cookie stated you are “spot on” my dear. I like paying it forward – as far as expectations; often, they create a path to disappointment. Thanks again for your insightful and meaningful “List of Five”

  4. Yes, ditto on all the previous comments! And yes, you were spot on, if you were expecting a reply or Thank You, the act was still nice to do even if you were expecting a Thank You but recognizing there was an agenda for the act to begin with is insightful. I love the pay it forward when you are able to do something for someone and they have no idea who you are……it always make me feel good. Aren’t Aha moments great! Your article reminded me I should get busy doing some acts of kindness! Thanks for my Aha moment.

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