There is real joy in giving. We instinctively know this. A young man gives special presents to his sweetheart in a quest to win her heart. A parent relishes the wide-eyed joy in their child’s eyes on discovering an unexpected gift. Most of us have experienced moments of such joy.
When someone we care about is in trouble it’s natural to want to help. Often we try to do so by giving things. A divorced parent tries to soothe their child’s pain by buying more “stuff.” Culturally those who have a sense of guilt feel obligated to give “stuff” to those who may have been wronged.
Sometimes things are needed. But too often that becomes nothing more than feeding a hungry man a fish, when teaching him to fish for himself would feed him for a lifetime. And there’s nothing more powerful in teaching someone to fish than seeing YOU do so.