Four Foundations

Does Motive Matter?

It’s no secret that I believe one of the important characteristics shared by truly successful people is a commitment to giving.  Most of the people I’ve interviewed on the topic get as excited about sharing the results of their efforts as they do by the actual accomplishments that put them in a position to share.

One of the ways to teach our kids about giving is to model it.  Another, to notice and talk about the ways that others who give.  This can lead to great conversations about the ‘hows’ and the ‘whats’ of giving.  For example, if you liked the recent baseball post,  you might have a conversation about Galarraga giving Joyce the benefit of the doubt.  Or Joyce giving his honesty.  We can give our time, our money, our awareness, our support, our best effort, our full attention….  the list long.  And a long list helps bring giving ‘into the now’ rather than making it a ‘someday, far-away’ goal.

A couple of months ago I was intrigued by a headline reading “Unemployed Man Gives Away $10 Every Day.”  Reading on I discovered that Reed Sandridge had lost his job at a DC non-profit and decided to explore the concept of ‘giving’ in this manner.  Known by close friends as a ‘sometimes skeptic’ I delayed sharing the story, waiting to see if he would follow through.

Reed is almost halfway through his ‘Year of Giving’ and has been blogging about it here.

It looks like he is about halfway through his experiment and has been faithful to his commitment.  It also seems that he has, from time-to-time, had a little trouble keeping his blog updated.  I think there are lots of people who can relate to that!

As I read through some of the comments, the ‘sometimes skeptic’ softened a bit as a number of people questioned his motives.  The comments led me to a question of my own:  Do motives matter?  When teaching our kids to be givers, does it matter why they give?

How about giving us your thoughts on the subject?

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  • Reed

    Andrea, great post. I have also thought about this…do intentions matter. A few people have questioned my intentions on the Year of Giving. Frankly I don’t care too much about the skeptics out there…I know my motivations and that is what matters. But back to your point, if the end result is positive maybe the intentions are less important.

    By the way, you would have loved to have been a fly on the wall on my giving today! Gave to a recovering meth addict who was celebrating 80 days sober and his friend who was celebrating a year today! It was so powerful.

  • Andrea

    Reed! So nice to hear from the subject of a post… I’m going to go read about your conversation with the guys in recovery. You’re right — they can be pretty inspirational. Are you on Twitter? If so, please post your ID so folks can more easily find you? 🙂