December 1, 2017
Little love, big love
Generosity. It’s a word that is often associated with giving something to someone else, but have you ever thought about being generous with yourself?
This time of year always stirs up emotions as I reflect on the year that has been – milestones achieved and things that didn’t quite go to plan, and wonder what the future has in store.
It’s also a time to consider others, your family, your friends, and your community, especially those who may not be as fortunate and think about how you can help (cue Jackie DeShannon’s Put A Little Love in Your Heart).
But it’s true, the festive season brings out the most generous among us, whether that be in showering our loved ones in gifts, or by donating goods or services to local charities. And there are an abundance of causes at this time of year including the Salvation Army’s Adopt a Family appeal, the Ulysses Club annual Toy Run, and free Christmas Day lunches for the disadvantaged and homeless.
Christmas Eve also marks the creation of The Smith Family in 1922, when five businessmen donated armfuls of toys and sweets to a Sydney orphanage, inspired to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in Australia.
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” – Brene Brown
Preferring to remain anonymous, when asked who the children could thank, one of the men said, “Smith”. “What about the others?” the matron asked. “They’re Smiths too”, he replied, “We’re all Smiths. We’re The Smith Family.”
For more than 90 years, The Smith Family has been supporting disadvantaged children in Australia, and since 2003 has given $17.4 million to lower income families through the Saver Plus program, which sees families save up to $500 of their own money (which is matched dollar for dollar), to buy educational supplies for their children.
Saver Plus Coordinator Denise Clark says, “Every child deserves a chance to get the best from their education, go on camp, play a sport, participate in programs and provide their laptop for school. With Saver Plus we’re giving power back to individuals and families so they can access all opportunities”.
“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.” – Robert Morley
An extension of this is their MoneyMinded program, developed by the Department of Education and Training and ANZ bank. The program aims to improve financial literacy skills by teaching practical budgeting skills, making money goals, reducing debt, as well as saving for the future and superannuation.
“Our aim is to provide our participants with easy to adapt skills to improve their overall situation,” says Denise, explaining they also provide information on where to buy low cost food, how to apply for no interest loans and helpful ways to chip away at big bills.
Share the Dignity is also spreading the love this season, through its In the Bag initiative, whereby people donate a handbag they no longer use and fill it with essential and luxury items that will make any woman feel loved. These goodie bags are then given to women who are struggling at Christmas.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
The thought behind it is that as a society, women seem to manage the needs of children at this time of year, ensuring they’re always cared for and made to feel special; putting the needs of others before their own desires.
It’s a sentiment that also rings true in everyday life, which has me pose a question to all of the ladies out there – if you have two apples and one is without any imperfections and the other is bruised, which one would you give to your hungry child and which one would you eat yourself?
While it’s so important to look out for others and lend a helping hand whenever you can, it’s also imperative that we, as women, look after ourselves and when we do something just for us, it’s not selfish – you do deserve it.
Make 2018 your year.