Monday, June 14, 2010

Pondering Karma & Stuff

Ok. This might be a little off topic for my blog, but since when has that ever stopped me? ;)

Lately I've been trying to sort out my feelings about philanthropy, volunteerism and the whole random-acts-of-kindness thing. The thing that I am wrestling with boils down to this - Is an act of kindness diminished if you take away a sense of fulfillment or pride from it?

My daughter's school has a volunteer luncheon every year, and every year I am invited, but I never go. I feel like going would be like basking in my own glory, which is not how I feel about volunteering at all. I feel like it is my duty as a parent and a citizen to help when and where I can and expect no celebration for it. I know that the girls' teachers are thankful for the help that I give them and the students, so why would I need some big to-do?

The same goes for bringing food to the food bank, donating money to charity, being a "parking meter fairy", etc. I do it because it needs to be done, and because it makes me feel like I'm injecting a secret little pinch of happiness or relief into someone's day. But, in feeling that sense of giddiness over my act or gift, am I actually negating the intended selflessness of the act of giving? Am I doing it for me or for them?


  1. I think life is meant to be enjoyed, and what joy would come from being stern & supressing good thoughts about giving? :)

  2. Can you maybe view this luncheon as an act of kindness being perpetuated on to you? This is someone being kind right back, a full circle if you like. Also when you are doing nice things for people these little circles of life are happening everywhere, you spread happiness and joy or just make someones else's life easier which it turn just keeps going.

  3. Oh that is a good one. We too have a volunteer appreciation breakfast at the kids' school - and I went 1 time despite being invited for the past 5 years. It is just something I enjoy doing (not to mention, I get to know most the kids that go to school with mine and thus know who to watch for:)). Hmmm.....I think I always feel better to help out where needed.

  4. I think if you have done it Originally from the right place in your heart... Then someone wants to thanks you ie with a luncheon then it has just come back to you (like Jennifurla mentioned)

    But it is all in why you did the good thing in the first place. Getting something back from it that is OUTSIDE of your control is Karma. So go to the lunch, let them thank you. Because that is letting them do something good for you.

  5. Why not give the teachers an opportunity to express their thanks? FWIW, I like the chance to thank someone, and when robbed of that opportunity, I feel, well, robbed. :0 and a little bit like the giver wants to hold me in a state of indebtedness.

    Just another p.o.v...