Posts Tagged ‘charity’

Teenager buys £600 worth of shopping for 4p and donates food to charity.

Cheer yourself up, click the link.

food-coupon_2769159b

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/10525022/Teenager-buys-600-worth-of-shopping-for-4p-and-donates-food-to-charity.html

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I am often to be heard murmuring, and more than usual round about this time of year, that wonderful phrase “first world problem”.

“The oven doesn’t cook fast enough.” Well, no it doesn’t, but it does just come on at the turn of a switch, and you don’t have to gather wood before you can eat every day.

“The supermarket is out of my favourite bread.” Yes, but there are 47 other types of loaves within an arm’s reach.

“God, there’s nothing on the TV.” True, but you also have your laptop, the internet, your playstation, musical instruments, hobbies, or you can even go for a walk without someone sniping at you from a nearby rooftop. As you stroll down the street, if you’re lucky, people will actually smile at you. They may even say “Good evening.”

And most of all. “I can’t think of anything to give so-and-so this year.” Well, turn on the tap then, and give them a glass of water. Clean, pure, uninfected water. Then give a gift of clean water tor someone who needs it, on behalf of your friend or family member.

I don’t consider myself an especially holy or even particularly good human being. Like most people, I have my good bits and bad bits. I can be as thoughtless and as selfish as the next person. And while I always try to find a few bob for those less well off than myself, I know I can and should always do more. And every year, round about this time, I hear my old Mum saying “Count your blessings, Son”.

She came from another era, to be sure. An era when there wasn’t enough medicine or doctors, when children died of vitamin deficiencies in “advanced” countries, countries that were periodically locked in titanic death struggles with the forces of evil, when food was hard to come by, when fuel was in short supply, when tens of millions of workers were unemployed and it seemed like no-one cared. As she turned out Depression-era meals onto the dining table long after the need to be so careful with our pennies had passed, she quietly inculcated in me a profound respect for what we have, instead of an envy for what we don’t. What that woman could do with a chicken that was years past the moment it should have been popped in an oven was a small miracle.

So as you struggle with your first world problems this Christmas, please, give what you can to those with nothing. This is how I do it. It’s even fun, too. Who said doing good has to be boring? Not the ‘Beests.

http://www.generositymag.com.au/meet-the-wildebeests/

(This is why you cant get any sense out of me after noon on the first Friday of every month. Well, you can try … new ‘Beests always welcome. Spread the conspiracy.)

moon-pond-ripples

Stephen Yolland writes:

I am often asked – surprisingly insistently, by some people, actually – why I keep on rabbiting on.

Why don’t I just bugger off and make more money, or watch some more football, or make love to my wife or just sit and bliss out. (All attractive options, I must say.) Why must I choose to have an opinion on this and that, and with such ferocious passion, sometimes, and why on earth anyone would care, anyway, what I think?

Why do I feel I have the right to pontificate freely on topics of great diversity, and sometimes topics with which I am not, apparently, personally involved?

The answer is quite simple, and it is threefold.

Firstly, I believe we are all born with innate gifts.

Whether these are devolved to us in some spiritual way or merely the result of genetics, accidental wiring and our birth environment I have no idea. I have a suspicion, but I cannot be emphatic. I believe, nevertheless that it is true. It is why some people grow up to be fine artists, administrators, musicians, farmers, pilots, poets and so on. They have a natural aptitude which gets developed.

I believe passionately that the world requires us to build on our aptitudes: to contribute as much as we can with what we’ve got. That’s how the world keeps turning.

I can write. I have a good ear for tone, for a smart turn of phrase, and even though my memory is not what it was (helas!) I have a reasonably good vocabulary.

I cannot walk through this life alone.

I am interested in other people. I am connected. Whether those people are in Russia, America, Thailand, China, Britain, or my own country. I am interested in what makes them tick, why they think as they do, and what the results of their thinking are. “No man is an island”, and I am not. To be interested in other people, and to care about what happens to them, is in my DNA. It’s partly a spiritual commitment, and partly an observation that this is simply how I wish to be. It is an innate part of my humanity to be interested in others.

I know what I think. Well, I think I do.

Last but not least, I am opinionated. I have that type of mind that cannot look at a situation, or a problem, or an opportunity, and not create an opinion. It’s partly because, as a business consultant, it is my training. It is also because I have, for a “creative” person, a very logical and analytical frame of mind. I simply enjoy examining things from all directions, listening to all points of view, and then forming an opinion.

Once having formed an opinion, I then feel obliged to share it. Otherwise why bother holding it?

Are my opinions always right? No. Do I change them? Yes. Do I change them very often? Possibly not. My mother once said to me “If an opinion is worth holding, it’s worth fighting for”. I never forgot that.

What provoked this introspection, Dear Reader?

Howard Goldenberg

Howard Goldenberg

Well, I was privileged today to take a phone call from my friend and business colleague, Gideon Kline. Last evening, he was pleased to have been in the audience for some humanitarian awards the Jewish Aid community were handing out, and especially to have heard an inspirational speech from doctor, runner, activist, charity fundraiser and author Howard Goldenberg.

Goldenberg was speaking about the need for generosity of spirit, especially as regards our relationships with Australia’s first peoples and with the refugees who wish to live here. And his speech was, indeed, inspirational. Witty, apposite, empathetic, warm-hearted, and meaningful. You can read it here.

The speech is wholly wonderful: but what really hit home was his very Jewish insistence on how we are all beholden to continue to fight for a better world. A world in which the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you wish they would do unto you” is the one that holds sway. (The famous rule appears in all the Middle Eastern monotheistic religions in some form, of course.)

I reflected that it is so easy to become discouraged by the intractability of the problems our world faces. And as I reflected, this comment from Goldenberg really caught my eye, and sent me off to Wikipedia to lean more about the Pirke Avoth.

“Our sages taught, in Pirke Avoth – “The day is short, the work is great…

Lo aleicha ham’lacha ligmor, ve’lo atta ben-horin le’hibatel
mimenna …

It is not upon you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it …”

Along with others that were listed, I found this phrase extremely moving. And I realised it ultimately describes why I, and so many others, (many much more effectively than me), “keep on keeping on”.

I have also heard the exhortion described in a more contemporary way as “Be sure to be a planter of oak trees”. One never sees the fully grown tree oneself, because one simply cannot live that long, but one day someone will, and marvel at its beauty, and rest under it’s shade, and be glad of it.

“It is not for me to complete the work. but neither am I free to desist from it.”

That’s why.

That, and as many have said “When you cast a pebble into a pond, you never know where the ripples end.”

I have no idea whether my words ever change lives.

I know it would change mine if they were silent.

And yes: having grown one in my own back yard, which every autumn gives me a good crop of acorns, I also plant oak trees, occasionally, surreptitiously, around the immaculately native-strewn and over-politically-correct parks of Melbourne, too. In fifty years, they will be the wonder of all who survey them. As famous, one day, as the elms, alders and other wonderful Victorian imports that still lend such a gracious air to our City today.

So sue me, already.