Can Generosity be Taught? – 4/12

by Peter Whitelock

Categories: Past Events

Can generosity be taught?

In some fascinating research, Laurent Daloz surveyed more than 100 people who have worked diligently for the common good under difficult circumstances. He wanted to discern formative experiences which have helped to develop generosity in people.

Daloz discovered several factors that appear quite significant in the first three decades of a person’s life:

·      The experience of being acknowledged as a child

·      Having at least one publicly active parent

·      Growing up in a home that is hospitable to the wider world

·      Living in a safe, yet diverse, neighborhood

·      Actively participating in the life of a faith community

·      Having contact with adults in the community who model commitment

·      Participating in youth groups

·      Having mentors

While it is true that these experiences do not appear completely in every life, and no single one is determinative, they do provide a general list which seems to increase the possibility of a person being generous as an adult. These are important factors to keep in mind as we raise children, encourage grandchildren, and interact with young people in a wide variety of contexts.

It is also essential for us to consider that while these formative experiences may have influenced our current level of generosity, we are continually called in the Spirit to increase our commitment to serving others as an expression of our faith in Jesus Christ. A Christian faith that is growing and deepening will always lead us towards greater sacrifice, love and service to others. Whatever experiences we have had in life, generosity can be taught, as long as we are willing to learn!

Grace and peace,

Peter Whitelock