I don't know our Governor General personally. A friend knows David Johnston quite well and tells me that he's a good guy and will do right by the office that he holds. He is a pretty good hockey player and he does come from my home town of Sault Ste. Marie so he must be ok. I can't say I recall anything he's done other than read a few lines in Parliament while Harper and his cronies spout off about all the good they're inflicting on Canada.
However, he did offer a substantial bit of guidance this holiday season by urging Canadians to "give their time, talent or money to build a stronger country". He describes it as your "giving moment".
Those are fine words that express a noble sentiment. But the words that followed are even more profound. He goes on to "encourage those who give, to tell their friends and neighbours why they do it, so the culture of giving is passed on".
There are many ways to do this. Giving back is something I learned from my parents in our remote farming community in Northern Ontario in the 1950's. Some of us wouldn't have survived had my mom not dropped off the casserole or checked in with the widow down the road after a bad storm or invited the lonely old guy up the road to join us for Christmas dinner.
Then, later in life, when my daughter was in the hospital for a few weeks, each day was a struggle. It was then that my family was on the receiving end of an anonymous package, left on our doorstep, containing a few meals and much needed cash.
The thing is, this person had no need to be known or recognized for their generosity. They knew we were suffering and they helped us. That's all. This is the whole point of giving.
Not all corporations give to charities but those that do consider this to be part of their public branding, their image if you like. That is one of the reasons they so aggressively advertise their donations. The other reason is more subtle. Perhaps this generous act will inspire others to do the same. It also raises the profile of the charity that is on the receiving end of this largesse.
We've hosted many charity events over the years, toy drives and fund raisers and the like. What we've noticed is that when people are provided with an opportunity to give, they are very generous. I'm never surprised by who the donors are or even the amount that is given. I'm not even surprised by the number of donors. I just know that when asked, they will respond. They always have.
The rewards are not selfish or ego driven. The official receipt is virtually meaningless at tax time. In fact, in those terms, there are no rewards per se. Donating, giving, offering, doing, are things that we act on for no reason other than it's what we do to help our neighbours. It's as simple as that.