eMite Series - A Generous Society
Back in December Jon Clifton, Global Managing Partner at Gallup, reported on Gallup’s Annual Survey of the most generous countries in the world. According to Mr. Clifton, this survey attempts to rate the generosity of countries, not only based on total giving but also by determining “how many people in a country are giving” and looking beyond the money to count the number of “people who volunteer their time and help strangers”. The report found Indonesia to be the most generous nation overall.
While the results of this survey are of interest, our blog post is really not about what country is most generous. At eMite we are more interested in the impact of generosity on a society. How does a charitable nature within the citizenry affect a nation as a whole? Does the societal impact of generosity differ significantly from its impact on individuals who are themselves generous. To a degree, it would be expected that the effect of generosity on a society would be parallel the effect on an individual basis, since every society is made up of a collection of individual citizens. However, the impact experienced individually is exponentially compounded when a society as a whole is generous.
So let’s take a look at some of these beneficial effects:
Better Foreign Relations - a natural result of generosity is good relations among fellow nations. No one really likes a rich miser. So when societies in a position to give follow through with charitable actions it leads to good relationships with other societies.
Longer Periods of Peace - Good relations with other people generally means peace with those same people. No one runs over the mailbox of their best friends - at least not intentionally. Societies who are generous are at peace with other societies.
Longer Existence - a people who build a society with a generous attitude as one of its bedrocks will build a longer lasting society. There is much less internal strife and turmoil within a generous society. When charity is in the heart of a people it leads to right relationships among the people.
More Ingenuity - being generous does not only impact the relational aspect of a society. It also impacts the creativity and ingenuity of its people. Some believe that technological advancement is made on the basis of greed. However, as the old saying states “necessity is the mother of invention.” Oh sure, there have been gobs and gobs of inventions and advancements that have been made so that someone could get rich. But the advancements that matter were, and are today, done because people needed help. A generous attitude helps a society perceive need among their own people as well as in peer societies. The awareness of need leads to fantastic thinking and creativity which leads to advancement of people everywhere.
Optimism - a society of generous people will be an optimistic society. Kind, charitable people have a optimistic view of life because they understand the difference that one life can make if that life gives. When a whole nation of people are driven by an attitude of generosity their optimism combines to create a people unlimited in their view of possibilities.
Gratitude - there is nothing more powerful than a society who is grateful. Gratitude has a tremendous effect on people and when that effect is translated over a full nation it has the power to change the world. Giving people are grateful people. A society of giving people is a grateful nation. A grateful nation is a powerful force in the world.
Strength - generosity comes in many forms. The form that builds strength in a society is the form of volunteerism. The reason volunteerism builds strength is that it builds connection. People connect when they help each other. A helping hand forms a greater connection than a dollar bill. As generous people give of their time and energy, when they spend their lives to help their fellow citizens, a bond is formed among that people. If you have never heard of or seen an Amish barn raising, it’s worth checking out. That type of interaction builds a strong community of people.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the beneficial effects generosity has on a society. But I hope we would all agree that if the benefits were limited only to those represented in our list it would be well worth incorporating and promoting generosity in our society. It is also important to recognize that these benefits apply to any group of people of any size - including our families. Generosity lived out in our homes will realize these same fantastic benefits! Who wouldn’t love a little more peace, right relationships, optimism, gratitude and strong bonds within our homes?
We encourage you to give your Mite, build an attitude of generosity within your own life and encourage generosity among those you love. Join us in encouraging a generous society!
(To view some key stats from the Gallup report check out World’s Most Generous Countries Report)