What comes to mind when you think about contribution?
Do you think of it as donating clothes and household items, giving money to a charity, or supplying food for those in need? Contributions such as these are always needed and appreciated by the receivers.
In the middle of preparing for a move – cleaning out closets to donate things I no longer use, I thought about: “What am I contributing?” Am I just contributing stuff? Is providing items that others may want or need enough? Offering things that supply others’ needs can make a significant difference. And, there’s no question that it makes us feel great having cleaned out closets and cupboards. It’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!
And, there’s more!
What about our daily contributions? How do we contribute each and every day?
We are making contributions every day – giving of ourselves while playing with the kids, friendly words to the people we talk to in the grocery store or at the park, respect we give our co-workers on the job. And, we contribute our creativity in meals we prepare, and making our homes comfortable.
But there’s still more!
Our greatest contribution is ourself! Each of us possesses qualities that are needed in the world. You may be making contributions to the world as an artist designing beautiful masterpieces for others to enjoy. You may be a motivational speaker offering messages that change people’s lives. Or, you might be a waiter in a restaurant serving delicious delicacies for others to enjoy. Each time we connect with another person – even for a minute – we are making a contribution of ourselves. We are contributing our thoughts and our values!
When we help a child learn how to tie a shoe; when we care for someone who is ill, or needs help with everyday tasks; when we greet others with kind words and a warm smile; and, when we share our thoughts and ideas – We are contributing.
How Can I Contribute More?
As I was continuing my closet clean-out, I started thinking about all the ways I could make my own self-contributions. I started listing ways I have contributed and how I can make better contributions of myself. I started listing my special talents, values I live by, and ideas that can make a difference. I realized that many of these talents, values and ideas have not been shared with others – instead I have kept them to myself where they are safely hidden. But we need to share our contributions with others.
We need to share ourselves!
The material things come and go, but our thoughts, ideas and talents are gifts to the world that will go on and on. Others might remember possessions that we gave for a short time, but when we share our views, ideas and visions, they will be remembered for a much longer time – many, even a life-time.
We may think that our ideas don’t make a difference, but they do. We are making contributions of ourselves and this is the most valuable contribution we can make.
Others want to feel that we care about them; we made them feel good by our kind words that they needed to hear or our warm smile that brightened them up when they were having a bad day. We brought a ray of joy into their lives at the moment they need it most. Everyone wants to feel cared for, appreciated and loved. This our greatest contribution!
So, what is your contribution today?