Don't Wait To Share

Lesson number: 

This week's lesson is all about sharing. It's especially addressed to more mature individuals who are fortunate enough to have the means to do so. However, the process of sharing should not wait until middle age. Instead it should begin as early in life as possible.

Sharing your knowledge, assets and resources has to be one of the noblest deeds one can perform in life. Too often individuals are so focused on accumulating wealth and material items throughout their lives and they forget the fact that you can't take anything with you when you are gone. Let's look at examples of two different philosophies and lifestyles in action.

Couple A and B were each married for forty years. They both had accumulated the same financial assets. Couple A enjoyed sharing their time and knowledge with their grown children and young grandchildren. They treated their family members to birthday dinners at nice restaurants. They bought them surprise gifts from time to time. They took them on a paid cruise or a nice vacation for their fortieth anniversary. They helped their grandchildren with tuition costs for school or college. They were happily engaged in sharing their hard earned assets with those they loved the most in life and everyone was grateful for their generosity. Not only did Couple A share with their immediate family. They also surprised many of their friends by picking up a tab at dinner or unconditionally helping a neighbor in need of a favor. Couple A sharpened their skills in the art of sharing and did so on every possible occasion. They were not wealthy, but they enjoyed sharing what they had and making others happy.

Couple A never accumulated a large estate. But they enjoyed spending what they had with those they cared about most in life. Everyone loved and respected them. Their kids were all close to each other because they did things together; partied together; and traveled together as a family. Each year Couple A gave their kids some of their valuables as gifts and they were so appreciative for their generosity. One side benefit for Couple A was their own children learned to be sharers just like they were by following their example. Their children surprised Couple A often with kind deeds and learned to share with their own children.

Now let's take a look at Couple B. After thirty-five years of marriage, they accumulated the same financial assets as Couple A. However, instead of taking their kids and grand kids on vacation, they collected different things like coins and artifacts. They also adorned themselves in jewelry and kept their money in CD's, accumulating it for the rainy day. They never surprised anyone with any gifts; took anyone to dinner; or helped anyone in a time of need. Their kids kept a distance from them because they were always whining about life. This couple even had a difficult time sharing with each other. Their children and grandchildren lived far apart from each other because they had no reasons to be close. This whole family did not experience what it was like to share with each other. Thus, there was little love spread throughout this family.

Then a day of reckoning always arrives, since we all must pass some day. The inevitable happened in each case study. The last to pass from Couple A had a simple will and since most of what they accumulated was enjoyed during their lifetime, what little that was left was evenly divided among family members that loved and respected each other. No arguments, just respectful cooperation and a sharing of grief from losing wonderful parents.

However, there was a stark difference when the last to pass from Couple B occurred. None of the children liked or trusted each other. A will was reluctantly left, but each child had to hire a lawyer to make sure they would not get cheated. One child vehemently tried to dispute the will, claiming that she was promised a necklace and bracelet from Mom. These kids didn't grieve much about the passing of their parents. Their focus was on the will. And since they didn't care much about each other before this incident - the battle of the will would represent the last time they would probably have anything to do with each other. Most regrettably, while this infighting went on, the innocent grandchildren of Couple B were watching every move. They were learning a very poor lesson about family life.

The above examples display family relationships guided by two different philosophies and two different lifestyles. Many people would be affected by the choices each couple made. You can decide which choice is best for you. If my guess is right, you'll probably want to make the best of each and every day by being more like Couple A. If that's so, "Don't Wait To Share!"