The season of Lent is among us and I’m reminded of all the many things I’ve tried “giving up” over the years. Some have been successful – some not so much. So this year, in talking with some friends & fellow Rotarians, we’ve decided to try something different. Maybe you’ll find it worthwhile and will choose to be a part of it too.
As a Rotarian, I try to live by the motto “Service Above Self.” Whether it’s volunteering with the local special needs sports program or delivering wheelchairs to spina bifida patients in South America, there are ample opportunities to give back as a Rotarian. But “giving back” certainly isn’t unique to Rotarians. I meet people everyday who inspire me through their giving hearts – whether it’s opening a door for an elderly person or allowing someone with less items to “cut in line” at the grocery store.
Many people look at Lent as their chance to “give up” something important to them for 40 days. This year, I’m choosing to “give back” for 40 consecutive days. I call it “intentional giving.” Let’s be clear – I won’t be writing any big checks to the non-profits I support (I wish I could). I’m talking more about small opportunities – even those that go unnoticed – to “Be A Gift To The World” over the next 40 days.
Each year, the Rotary International President selects a “theme” to represent his year of service. “Ravi” Ravindran, the RI President for 2015-16, chose “Be A Gift To The World” and on that note, I’m inviting all my Rotarian friends (and those of you who aren’t “yet” Rotarians) to join me in this small effort to “give back” rather than “give up.”
Over the next 40 days, look for ways you can “give back,” and if you so choose, share them on your social media using #40Gifts40Days. But for the record, sharing on social media & using this hashtag isn’t about recognition or publicity – it’s about sharing ideas of ways to give back and maybe encouraging others to do the same. And maybe even filling up social media news feeds with positive news stories for a change!
Maybe it’s a short hand-written thank you note or paying for the meals in the car behind you in the drive-thru. Maybe it’s bringing candy bars to your co-workers or donating unused winter clothes to the homeless shelter. The possibilities are endless for your “intentional giving.”
So when Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, I invite you to join my friends and I in our #40Gifts40Days effort. You may not believe one person can make a difference in the world, but to one person, you may be the world. So be a gift these next 40 days of Lent. I’m certain you’ll be just as blessed as those who receive your gifts.