Lesson 53: Share

Published 7:20 pm Monday, December 21, 2009

All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.

Lord Byron

As a child, you were told to share, and you did it because you had to. As a grown-up, you share because you want to. The rewards of sharing and giving are always greater than the rewards of receiving.

Sometimes, receiving is in itself a form of giving. When you know that someone is excited about giving you something, you want them to experience that joy. This often results in a comment such as, Oh, a purple plaid polka-dot tiejust what I wanted!

There are lots of ways to share; giving a gift is just one. Donating money to your favorite charity, church, or college annual fund are others. Sharing a meal with a friend is another. Paying someone a compliment is yet another.

By the way, you need to learn how to take a compliment if you dont know already. Heres the entire lesson: When someone compliments you, respond by saying, Thank you. Thats it. Dont pooh-pooh the compliment out of a sense of humility: Well, thanks, but I really didnt do anything worth noticing. It was so-and-so who did most of it, and I only Blah, blah, blah.

Enough, already! This person is trying to be nice to you, and by rejecting the compliment youre really rejecting their effort to be nice. By forcing them to defend their comment, you turn it into an argument. A compliment is as much for the benefit of the giver as the receiver. So share a little good feeling with someone who wants to share with you. Just say thank you and leave it at that.

One of my favorite things to share is time. You can do this by helping a friend move into a new apartment or mowing an elderly neighbors lawn. Volunteering is a great form of sharing, and there are lots of organizations and projects deserving of your time. Help build a house for a poor family, serve meals at a homeless shelter, or tutor underprivileged kids. Try it, youll like it.

It really is more blessed to give than to receive. You know youre an adult when you reach the point at which giving is more fun than receiving. And therein lies the sublime and ironic secret of sharing: the more you givein gifts, money, kind words, and timethe richer you will be.

Excerpted from The Graduates Book of Practical Wisdom: 99 Lessons They Cant Teach in School by C. Andrew Millard, published by Morgan James Publishing, available in bookstores and online. &opy; 2008 by C. Andrew Millard; all rights reserved. For more information visit www.wisegraduate.com.~ Advice for Young Adults written by Andy Millard