Giving and Connection—How We Know When Our Giving Is Right

Theme

Connection and RelationshipDiversity and DifferenceExclusion and BelongingGiving and ReceivingLove and CompassionMoney and WealthMotives and ValuesPoverty and NeedPower and PrivilegeRoles and BoundariesServing and Volunteering

Audience

Resource

The Same Inside

Author

Swir, Anna

Big Questions

What makes it possible for us to connect to others? What gets in the way?How do we connect with those who are different from us?How do we respond to strangers?When I give, what do I expect in return? What do I receive?Who should we give to and why?How do we define love? How do we show love?Should we love the people we serve?What is poverty, how should we respond to it?Do one’s motives for serving or giving matter? How?How do we know what someone needs?How should we respond to people and communities in need?In what ways does having money give us power?How far should we go in trying to identify with those we serve?Should we keep a distance from the people we serve?

Opening Activity

Think of a time in your philanthropic work when you felt an especially strong connection to someone you were giving to or serving. What lead to this sense of connection? How did it affect your work? Do you think the person you felt connected to also felt connected to you?

Discussion Questions

  1. Where, at the start of this poem, is the speaker headed?
  2. What stops the speaker from reaching the initial destination?
  3. What does the speaker recognize in the old beggar woman?
  4. How are the two 'the same inside'?
  5. Does this encounter leave you feeling inspired, disturbed, or some other emotion, and why?
  6. How does the gift of money fit in with the other things given?
  7. Why does this encounter seem to shift the speaker's priorities?

Closing Activity

In a phrase, describe how you know when your giving is right. "I know my giving is right when ______"

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