I love psychology. It’s one of my greatest passions. The human psyche fascinates me and I love to challenge my own thinking and beliefs by learning as much as I can about it. Recently, I have been doing a lot of learning about how experiences in childhood shape the way we grow up – and show up – in the world. One of the more interesting things I have learned is that the experiences as far back as from the time that we are in vitro up to 5 years of age shape the majority of the ways that we behave in later life. Yes, we continue to develop as we grow up and many, many other things influence us as human beings. And yes, I strongly believe in the neuroplasticity of the brain to change over time. But the most important neural pathways are set in these very early years. This got me thinking about some of the vital lessons that a child needs to learn and practice while their brains are developing so rapidly, and about the skills that caregivers (mothers, fathers, guardians, teachers) can pass on to our up-and-coming generation of humans who will, one day, become great influences on this world.
One such quality is generosity.
Generosity is the desire to give what you have to others.
I began to think about how I would teach my child what it means to be a generous person and what behaviours to look out for in receiving generosity from others – something that we can find difficult sometimes. This is somewhat of a daunting task, and I’m sure something that many parents and caregivers can relate to.
- How do you teach someone the art of something that is in the felt experience rather than a tangible thing?
- How do you teach someone about their spirit, about how to open their hearts?
- How do you teach someone that just by giving another person your uninterrupted attention you are showing generosity to them?
What I have come to realise is that it’s all in the old adage of leading by example.
By showing children how to be generous by being generous ourselves. By expressing generosity of spirit in the way that you hold space for someone who may be hurting. By showing the generosity of attention through genuine connection with no interruptions. By giving generosity of wisdom in the way that we patiently pass down traditions or share knowledge. And, probably the most recognisable way of giving, by being generous with our resources.
Generosity is common in all cultures. There are numerous experiments that demonstrate that it is a universal trait, independent of socioeconomic status, and a more spontaneous behaviour than greed, which requires thinking more. The brain provides us with short-term rewards to stimulate long-term behaviours that guarantee our survival. Generosity is one of those behaviours that allow us to become a productive and valued member of our ‘herd’ (a term I prefer over that of ‘society’).
The concept of generosity clearly spans more than just sharing what we have in physicality. It’s an energetic state that we take on. It’s a heart-opening practice that stimulates a flood of oxytocin and all the other feel-good hormones in our bodies. It’s a way of being in the world, not just a single act. And it’s through this unseen energy state that we can begin to teach others around us how to be generous by physiologically triggering mirror neurons (a brain cell that reacts both when a particular action is performed and when it is only observed) in others.
Giving Tuesday Becomes Giving November
November 30th is the world’s biggest day of generosity. It’s a day that we celebrate Giving Tuesday – a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. It was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good and to be generous – particularly after the mad rush of consumerism during Black Friday.
Over the past 9 years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. Giving Tuesday is a concept that resonates so deeply with the Londolozi values and we are thrilled to be involved again this year.
Last year, through all of your generosity, we managed to raise $10 775 for our NGO partners, The Good Work Foundation. These donations from you – our wonderfully kind Londolozi family – have helped more than you could possibly know during an incredibly volatile period in this NGO’s history as they, along with so many other causes, navigated the rough seas of a global pandemic in the rural communities of South Africa.
This year we have decided to celebrate generosity through the whole month of November, closing it off on Giving Tuesday as opposed to simply celebrating just one day of generosity. This month, we once again invite as many members of our extended Londolozi Family as possible to join us in this generosity movement and help us to raise funds for GWF’s Open Learning Academy for 2021. Our goal this year for Giving Tuesday is to help the Good Work Foundation by raising $50 000 towards four key pillars of their Open Learning Programme: Conservation, Creative Arts, Coding & Robotics, and Citizenship.
About Londolozi’s Giving Tuesday Mission
- Be a hero. Gift a rural South African learner access to wonder-filled learning with Londolozi and the award-winning Good Work Foundation.
- The problem. In rural South Africa, of 100 South African children that start school, approximately 60 will reach and write matric, 37 will pass, and 12 will access university. This crippling problem will be even more exacerbated going into 2022.
- A solution. Good Work Foundation’s Open Learning Academy offers a change in the trajectory for over 9000 Grade 4 to Grade 8 learners in a network of 30 schools in the Bushbuckridge community.
If donating is not how you would prefer to take part in Giving Tuesday this year, here are a few more ideas to get your creative juices flowing…
5 ways to practice generosity this Giving Tuesday
- Write a positive review for your favourite local restaurant or small business
- Offer your expertise free of charge to someone who may not be able to afford to pay for them
- Volunteer your time at an organisation that you believe in
- Compliment someone every day – a simple and easy act of generosity
- Give blood at your local blood bank
A final Thank You…
To Tina, Thomas, Patricia, Angela, William, Andrea, Vickie, Marisse, Ginger, Holly, Joseph, Doris, Elizabeth, Michael, Terry, Nadine, Brenda, Denise, Linda and all of our other generous and kind Londolozi family members for taking part in our campaign last year. We are so excited about Giving November and the positive ripple effect it will have on those who need your support the most.
If you are feeling inspired, and perhaps the generosity bug has bitten in the last few minutes, join the Londolozi Family’s Giving Tuesday campaign by CLICKING HERE. It’s a simple idea with huge potential. Whether you join us on our campaign or simply come together with your family, your community, your company, or your organization, finding a way to practice your own generosity will open your heart and activate your soul.