Month of Giving – Evaluation

Another December has come and gone, and we have now flipped the calendar over from 2014 to 2015.  This means that my December monthly challenge of a month of giving will also come to a close, and as such it is time to reflect on how it went.

As a refresher here are the rules I had for the month of giving challenge:

  1. The act of giving or kindness can’t be for someone I know, it needs to be for a stranger.
  2. It must be more than holding a door or an elevator for someone or other gestures that are considered normal and polite.
  3. For every day that I am not able to give, I will put $5 in a donation pot, which will be donated at the end of the month to the Calgary Food Bank to help fellow Calgarians in need.

It turns out performing an act of kindness or giving that meets these requirements every day was quite a challenge!  I actually only managed to do this eight days over the course of the month.  I think it would be easy to look at this result as a failure; however, I need to remember that I still was able to improve a stranger’s life on eight separate occasions this month!

The fact of the matter is, I am a fairly shy person, so just going up to a random person on the street and offering assistance is not easy at all for me.  The acts of kindness I did do were mostly more donation based, or helping people who asked for it.  There were also many cases of helping out my friends and family or holding doors or elevators for people, but those did not meet my criteria.

No excuses though, I could have tried harder and gone more out of my way to find ways to complete random acts of giving.  There were 31 days in December, and I completed my challenge on 8 of those days, leaving 23 uncompleted.  That means I will be making a donation of $115 to the Calgary Food Bank ($5/day x 23 days) to make up for the missed days.

So what have I learned from this experience?

  • By constantly being on the lookout for opportunities to complete random acts of kindness I felt they kind of lost their randomness, and it felt forced. I believe in providing help when the opportunities present themselves to me, and this challenge felt a little too forced.
  • I need to find an opportunity where I can volunteer on a regular basis to give back to those in need in the community. I donate money to charity regularly throughout the year, and also volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.  However, I think if I were to start giving some of my time to the drop in centre or food bank on a regular basis, say twice per month, I would get a bigger feeling of giving back to the community.
  • I am a generous person already, and I don’t really need to go out of my way to reinforce that. I am polite to strangers, I hold doors and elevators whenever I can, and I’ll help my friends or family out whenever required.
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