The importance of giving back

Very likely, you are much more fortunate than you think.

We all have problems, but few of us have problems that impact our lives in ways that really degrade our standard of living. There are times when the grind gets to me. I find it very hard to focus on the fact that I’ve got it pretty good. I’m very lucky to have a healthy and happy family.

To that end here’s a list of ten things that are going right as of today:

  1. Mr. Grey is a healthy baby boy, weighing in at over 19 pounds at 6 months. He is starting to talk (Dadadadadadada – It doesn’t hurt that that’s me even if he doesn’t know it). He has started to eat solid food (oatmeal and sweet potatos). He laughs and smiles nearly every time I walk into the room.
  2. TKD has quit her job. She will be staying home with Mr. Grey full time from now on. (I’m a bit nervous about this on a number of levels, but I know it will all be okay in the end.)
  3. I’ve got a good job that doesn’t require me to work outdoors in extreme heat or cold.
  4. We may not be able to have all the THINGS that we’d like, but we do have most of what we want and certainly have all that we NEED.
  5. We are fortunate enough to be selective in the type of food we buy. (We try to buy organic, but it doesn’t always work out. We need to be buying local…)
  6. We have a small, but supportive, family. We are lucky to have the family that we have. Many people don’t have a close family. Mr. Grey’s Grandmother came up from NC to stay with him during the day last week. We lost our child care a few weeks ago and TKD still had a week of work to deal with. It was fantastic to have Pat up for the week so that neither of us had to skip work. (I’m pretty sure Pat loved spending time with Mr. Grey as well…)
  7. We are not suffering from a significant drought this year. (The rain in MD has been above average for this time of year, accoridng to
  8. Both TKD and I are relatively healthy. We certainly could do more to make ourselves healthier, but neither of us have one foot in the grave…
  9. My parents taught me right from wrong. I was fortunate to have such wonderful parents. I miss my dad more than I can ever put in words. He taught me how to be a man, but more importantly how to be a father.
  10. TKD is the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever met and she not only agreed to marry me, but to bear my children. She rocks!!!

So what does this have to do with the importance of giving back. Well, even though I’ve got it really good, better than most, it’s still hard to part with cash or more importantly time to give back. There was a time when I gave two weekends a year to a wonderful camp that was focused on families living with HIV/AIDS. I no longer have time to give to that camp. And I miss that.

I will never forget the second camp that I attended as a volunteer, where a little girl from Baltimore came up to me, fresh off the bus from Johns Hopkins Hosptial, and asked “Are you gonna take me fishin this weekend.” I wonder what she’s up to this weekend. She was an angel. She lost her mother a few years ago. She didn’t return to camp but once after that.

While I can no longer give my time, I can give money to worthy causes. This is not nearly as beneficial as giving my time, my love, my character to an organiztion, but it’s something.

So, I encourage you, dear reader, to count your blessings, and in this time of a sour economy find a way to give back to your community, whereever it is. I guarentee it will be worth either your time or your money.

5 thoughts on “The importance of giving back

  1. Thank you for this story. It is a reminder to me,as a student in high school, that the time I contribute for those around me is priceless. I loved your reminder so much, I used it in my college essay about the importance of giving to the community. I hope that’s okay with you. I hope we both continue with the same mentality. Thank you again, and God bless you.


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