It’s not about their attitude but about your attitude when you serve people in need.
Have you ever been in a serving situation where those being served complained about the lack of choices of food or clothing or whatever was being provided?
Something is better than nothing, but just because they’re needy doesn’t mean they can’t be disappointed or dissatisfied. They have wants and desires too. We somehow have to look beyond what we heard them say or do and put ourselves in their circumstances. Imagine the conversation they must have with their children. “Sorry, this is all we have to eat.”
- Don’t judge.
I co-teach with a friend a Horizonte financial literacy class to adult high school returnees, immigrants and refugees. The multi-week class starts small and gets big with the 40 minute presentation. The few that arrive on time are benefiting most. The late comers are gaining less. But even if we help just a few we’re making a difference.
- Don’t get discouraged.
Ideally, we’d hear a lot of thanks for our help. In reality, most leave immediately upon hearing the bell. It’s difficult not to discriminate between the people who want and appreciate help and those who just take it. Have you ever received help, advice or perhaps money, for which you didn’t show appreciation at the time? But later you came to realize how important or impactful it was?
- Don’t discriminate.
My grandmother, one Christmas, knitted a very intricate and labor intensive turtleneck ski sweater for me as a teenager. It itched me and didn’t fit perfectly. Without her permission I sold it. She was offended and hurt. Belatedly, I apologized and asked for her forgiveness. She explained her sorrow and expectation of me and forgave me. I love her for that lesson and many others. When we give, others’ gratitude may come immediately. It may come later or never. Our willingness to assist others cannot and should not come with a gratitude test.
- Give without a gratitude test.