Yesterday was Christmas Eve. I suspect we enjoyed it about as much as everyone else. We let the kids open presents from family members and friends and saved the ones from Santa and us for Christmas morning. It is a little tradition we have established.
It’s fun putting together the toys and setting up everything just right so when the kids come down the stairs, they will run into the impossible. A living room, which was totally normal before they went to bed, is now full of toys and surprises! Our little angels’ innocence should be used against them whenever possible!
The point of the post, however, is my wife and I typically find a family that isn’t so well off during the holiday season, and we help to provide anonymously a little extra. Being where we are from, it’s not hard to find families not too well off. Neither one of us came from what you would call “well off families.” However, this year we weren’t as diligent as before. Last week I made a call back home to a friend to ask if she could find me a family with kids that might be lacking this Christmas. Unfortunately, I waited too long to act and she wasn’t able to locate one before we were able to send a contribution.
But let me say this. This isn’t a post to make you reflect or place guilt. You are entitled to do what you want or not, whenever you feel like it or not feel like it, regardless of the season. I don’t normally share these sort of things but since I’m anonymous, I can here.
At any rate, I found a solution to our dilemma and one that eased my conscience. I decided to order pizza for our Christmas Eve supper. I figured whoever was delivering pizza for Dominos on Christmas Eve could use a little extra. So we ordered our pizza and tipped the deliveryman handsomely when he arrived. I hope he was surprised and thankful when he got a chance to see the receipt. I hope he will take the contribution and do a little extra for his family. I hope he’ll remember it and do a little extra for someone else in the future.
If you want to get philosophical about it, you might say I gave him that tip for my own benefit, to ease my own conscience so I can go to bed peacefully knowing I gave when I didn’t have to. Okay fine. But my act of self-interest will contribute down the line, in the long term regardless of the motives that led me to do it in the first place. Similarly, one day he might recall his good fortune and feel the need to return the favor for his own conscience’s sake. Regardless of the motive in which ever case, the deed will be done. There’s a term for this. Maybe maximizing efficiency is it but I’m not sure at the moment as it is late — technically it’s early.
I like the power we have as humans to do something because we should, not because we have to. You follow me?
Edmund Burke said a healthy regard to self-interests is the cause for all innovation and progress. If he didn’t say exactly that, he said something very close.