Does Giving Matter?

 The Gift
By Lynn Hoffman

for Anton

At the escalators
we part company:
I am housewares,basketballs
he is sports.

Later, I learn
while I shopped for irons
he priced basketballs
and finally settled on
a Wilson indoor pure pigskin
purchased with money he earned
from shoveling snow in the neighborhood.

He finds me at the checkout.
“I bought a basketball,” he beams,
“the most expensive one they had.”
An air-ball? I wonder, spying his empty hands.
He reads the question in my frown.
“I donated it to the Joy of Giving.”

I look at him
now at eye-level,
my 14-year-old son
who always gave me the impression
he wasn’t listening.

giving-charityPattie and I are working on a special post that connects Of Mice and Men to a coat drive  Halloween that your students can pull off this year.  In the meanwhile, please begin thinking about how you give.  Many of our students come from families with a cynical view of giving because they fear giving doesn’t really matter.

  • How do we give wisely?
  • How can we trust that our donations are put to good use?
  • Why would we give without expecting anything in return?
  • What is an individual’s responsibility to a community?
  • Are there forces in life over which we have no control?

Look to our pending post on how to give wisely.  Learn from our students’ action research on which agency is the most effective in delivering our donations to recipients.

Consider reading Giles Bolton’s Africa Doesn’t Matter as he answers big questions about effective giving, what actually happens to aid money, and how we have the power to take effective action to help people in desperate need.

Need an easier assignment on the week before progress reports are due?  Check out Learning How to Give.

Need another reason to consider giving?  Read this report from Huff Post.

Check out Pattie’s visual mission statement for her work at West Salem High School (click to enlarge).

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About Teaching it Forward

We are high school language arts teachers in Oregon.
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