TURNING POINT: The Imperative of Giving

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 30 January) — Giving is the foundation of real and meaningful change. It generates goodwill, understanding, tolerance, trust and confidence, the blocks critically needed in building peace.

Our blessings in talents and material gifts more than always suffice our needs and enjoyment. There’s, therefore, no reason why we should not share them to others. Sharing spreads compassion, joy and hope for better days.

Consider the aftermath of super typhoon Odette (Rye). It is heart-tugging to see on social media images of people from different walks of life, complete strangers, braving difficult terrains, carrying food supplies and other material assistance to ease the suffering of distraught victims. It is in this situation that our faith in God is strengthened, and our eroded belief in the goodness of man is restored.

Our talents, skills and circumstances define what we can give to others. The more gifted may offer voice for the voiceless, inspire courage to the timid, and strength to the weak. The boldest among us may even offer their lives so that others may live. Not all of us can do that of course. But just by listening to their stories, we may be able to give comfort to troubled souls; in fact, at times, just being there could already be a great help.

In this pandemic, if we have the means, we have this opportunity to give that directly and immediately benefit us. If the health situation permits, this is the best time to go shopping in malls, dine in the best restaurant in town, and finally do the much needed repair or renovation in the house, while we take a family vacation in that fabulous seaside resort we had been rearing to experience for some time now. 

In an economy that is ravaged by COVID-19, it is not virtuous to be penny-pinching. We need to give more, spend more – what we can afford, to help more people survive the trying times. Spending helps a lot earn to make both ends meet – from the primary producers in the factory, farm and fishing community, to those in the transport services and to many others along the line. 

If the health situation does not permit, online shopping may do the trick.  It generates a job chain with a minimum risk of pandemic infection.

For instance, I order dried fish from a seller in faraway Palawan. Dried quality fish has value added to the product, giving fishers and their families more income for their effort. It also earns income to packagers, sellers, and those in the delivery services, among them, the rider who hands to me the product at home.

Spending is the key to an economic recovery. A robust economy benefits us all.

Indeed, it is in giving that we receive.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)