October 2nd is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanthi. Gandhiji is the symbol of humbleness and from October 2nd to October 8th is “Joy of giving week”. This week is also the week of Poojas, the famous Durga Pooja. We spend lots of money for Celebrations and all other festival related things like shopping, outing etc. We get joy and satisfaction while doing all these things, but have you ever experienced the joy in giving or helping the needy.

The “Joy of Giving week” is a “Festival of Philanthropy” that aims to become a part of Indian ethics with the week celebrated every year covering Gandhi Jayanthi. The week engages people through “acts of giving” i.e money, time, resources and skills. 

Now a days in most of the TV channels we can notice an advertisement in which a boy gave away his lollipop to his underprivileged counterpart. It is really a touching one. Recently a rural school boy from our Islands was helped by his classmates (Vitala Public School, HopeTown) by generating a huge amount is a touching example of “giving”. Giving is not only for the rich and giving is not only about money. Giving can be in terms of spending time or other forms also. Research shows that people spending time and helping others makes them happy. Opportunities to give and help others are everywhere. If we just look around us, someone somewhere needs our help in some form. Someone needs to know that they are loved. Someone is struggling financially and there is something we can do to help if even a little. Someone may simply needs a hug or wants to be just heard.

Giving, taking, earning etc are human impulses, and we wouldn’t be human without them. We live in a beautiful planet. Having been bestowed by the universe with the powers of logical thinking and emotional nurturing, it is as humans not just our duty, but our honor to be able to preserve this abundance and being ‘giving’. Everyone seeks joy in their ecosystem- be it animals, birds, fishes or us. So why not use our ‘power’ to thrive in our environment while letting others do so in theirs. We often get gripped in “Futility thinking" which plays a very vital role in our decisions. Giving money to help the poor is, we say, just drop in the ocean. We focus on those we cannot save rather than on those we can. One more aspect also affects our mindsets which the psychologists calls as the bystander effect—if I hear someone calling for help, and I am the only one around, I am more likely to help than if there is someone else with me who also hears the call but does nothing. Unfortunately, when it comes to our world of giving, there are many who do nothing. Subtle shifts could help us to overcome our psychological barriers to giving. Just as seeing other bystanders not helping makes us less likely to help, so knowing that others are giving makes us more likely to give. The more people talk about what they give, the more we can expect others to give or even pledge.

It might cost us time, money, stepping out of our comfort zone or sacrificing our needs, but rewards of giving are priceless. When we give, we reap the joy of seeing a bright smile, laughter, tears, joy and gratitude. Giving is one of the best ways to share our joys, love and gratitude. The Holy Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

You too can make the “Joy of Giving week 2011” a memorable one in your life. It is not important what is given, how much is given, to whom it is given- what is important is giving! Everyone could have a different definition of ‘giving’. If you can say like this, I ‘gave’ today by smiling and being polite to a person inspite of rudeness. These acts of yours will definately brightened a moment in someone’s life. ‘Giving’ can be as simple as this . Just ponder upon that when was the last time you gave someone a gift, compliment, your time or anything? How did it make you feel? Think and decide. It’s time to do your bit and spread the Joy of giving.

Bency Joy
PhD Scholar in Psychology