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On generosity

March 18th, 2013

Eleanor

My children, aged three and five, have been fighting quite a bit these past few weeks. The younger one – a boy – has become acutely aware of wanting everything that his sister has and his older sister has become adept at making her little brother jealous. Some of this has to do, I’m sure, with her having started kindergarten this year and the sense the little brother has of being left out of this experience. IMG_1975

His sister wears a school uniform now, takes three different lunch boxes to school, and has a reader she brings home every night along with an entire vocabulary of new playground terminology. Sometimes I see her gloating about these new experiences to him in order to infuriate him, but I’d rather focus on (and reward) the moments of generosity that she shows.

Like last week when she used the last of her pocket money to buy her brother a treat. Or when she sat with him, trying to teach him letter sounds so that he wouldn’t feel left out when it was time to do her reader. Where does this generosity come from? How do I encourage it and ensure that it continues?

Something that I have been delighted by as I have been treading this path to becoming a published author is the generosity of other writers. There have been so many times when people who are incredibly busy have taken the time out of their schedules to read my manuscript and comment on it, or agree to provide me with a cover quote, or give me feedback for my blog or advice about publication. All of this is unpaid for them and it’s not like being a writer is a lucrative profession in the first place.

There is something about generosity that is infectious, I think. The more of it that you experience, the more you want to practice yourself. I said this to my son this past weekend – if you share your toys with your sister she will want to share her toys with you. I don’t think he listened (he is three, after all) but I’m not giving up!

 

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