Why are you doing charity?

Are you doing charity at all? Or are you trying to impress people?

Do you need to work so hard and so much of charity or are you doing this to show off?

No these are not questions that I am asking. These are the questions that a wife asked her husband during one of our meetings.

The wife was not impressed at all by the charity that her husband was doing. She felt that he was just trying to show off to his friends, colleagues, relatives by giving six figure donation cheques. This suddenly set me thinking.

Why do people donate to various causes? At the same time paying their driver, maid, etc very poorly. Or bargaining with them till the cows come home. Or refusing to tip in a hotel, but willing to pay for the clothes of an unknown man lying in an unknown old age home? Really what drives people to do charity? Even Andrew Carnegie did not do charity without putting his name on the hall did he? However I do know a lot of people who do charity very quietly.

In this case a lot of the charity was noisy. After his wife hit him in the solar plexus I realized that he would do charity ONLY where he got publicity. He refused to pay the fees of a poor friend’s son – that too as a temporary loan. It was surprising for me to notice that. His wife noticed that too. She promptly paid for the kid’s tuition fee. She told me “he helps only the glamorous people” – which was again noticeable. He helped a young girl for her adventure sport – the wife thought it a poor cause.

Giving away your old things to somebody is good. You are reducing clutter. However, even for a second, do not pretend you are helping somebody else. You are helping YOURSELF.

When we decide to help someone — a friend, a family member, an employee, anyone — it’s easy to think about what we want to do. It’s a lot harder and much more important to think about what that individual needs and can accept.

So go and ask yourself all these questions. Even Karna had to answer some difficult questions about why he was a danweer.

In case of Karna it was a way to reduce his guilt of being with the wrong party. He was just cleansing his conscience.

I know at least 3 people who are like that….they donate to:

a) be seen as ‘helpers’

b) gain importance in society – if you help temples, charities, etc. in your own geography you are seen as a successful man

c) one man whom we called ‘Charity Commissioner’ had taken a lot of his friends money as equity and destroyed it. Then he borrowed money from a lot of people  – this was also lost. He repaid NOBODY…but committed suicide.

Know your reason.

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