Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Library showcase: A Season of Giving

Source: Pixabay
Thanksgiving has come and now that even the leftovers are gone, most of us are eagerly looking forward to the winter holidays! We often think of this time of year as a season of holiday parties, festive decorations, and shopping, but it can also be a season of giving. The holidays are a great time to volunteer, help out at a charity event, or give a donation to a non-profit organization. Amid the commercialism of our modern Christmas traditions, let's strive to practice principles of generosity and compassion. For a great book on the importance of giving, check out Showing Up For Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime by Bill Gates Sr., or Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World by Bill Clinton.

Discover how even a single person can make a world of difference through the inspiring stories of visionary humanitarians in The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood, and Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

Generosity and kindness are fundamental traits of humanity; you could even say that helping others is an essential part of what makes us human. Explore the human instinct for philanthropy in More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff Shinabarger and The Art of Being Kind by Stefan Einhorn.

In To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes, “We are here to make a difference, a day at a time, an act at a time, for as long as it takes to make the world a place of justice and compassion.” Find out what roles you can play to further this vision in The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer or Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

There are many ways you can get involved with volunteer work and humanitarian efforts, both in your own backyard and in communities across the globe! For practical ideas about incorporating volunteer work into your daily routine see How You Can Help: An Easy Guide to Doing Good Deeds in Your Everyday Life by William D. Coplin, The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering by Jenny Friedman, and World Volunteering: The World Guide to Humanitarian and Development Volunteering.

Whatever holidays you are celebrating this month, take a moment to share a bit of holiday cheer with someone else: help a person in need, give back to your community, and make a difference in the world around you.