An Age of Whining – and the Need for Generosity

How to be lucky.  Be generous.  I don’t use that word lightly.  Generosity is luck going in the opposite direction, away from you.  If you’re generous to someone, if you do something to help them out, you are in effect making him lucky.  This is important.  It’s like inviting yourself into a community of good fortune.
Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit


These are tough times.  Here in Dallas, there will be lay-offs.  The library  — the main library! – sounds like it will be closing three days a week.  When there are more people in need than ever, city services will be cut.  It is a difficult time.

A handful of city governments were frugal enough (and maybe lucky enough) to hold out precious resources for small pay increases.  But most of the cities are experiencing a pay freeze, or, lay-offs, or both.

Programs are cut.  Every piece of the budget is scrutinized.

And morale is low.

And people are worried.

And, so, there is a lot of whining going on.

Do you remember the stories of the depression era.  You know, The Grapes of Wrath type stories.  Those were really hard times.  But in the midst of the worst of times, it was common for people to be generous, to share the little they had with those in greater need.  It is the essence of man’s humanity to man.  From The Grapes of Wrath:

“You sharin’ with us, Muley Graves?”  (Jim Casy).
Muley fidgeted in embarrassment.  “I ain’t got no choice in the matter.”  He stopped on the ungracious sound of his words.  “That ain’t like I mean it.  That ain’t.  I mean” – he stumbled – “what I mean, if a fella’s got somepin to eat an’ another fella’s hungry – why, the first fella ain’t got no choice.”

Let me share a couple of thoughts.

If you are around someone who is whining in the midst of difficulty, cut a little slack.  These are tough times. And whining is kind of an understandable, natural reaction.

Be generous – generous in spirit toward those in difficulty, and in actuality toward those in need.  Buy a meal – share a resource or two.  Give to a good, trustworthy organization that helps others. (In Dallas, I’m a big fan of Central Dallas Ministries).  You might bring a person “in transition” to the First Friday Book Synopsis as your guest.  The networking, and the wonderful buffet breakfast, might do them some good.

And if you are personally facing tough times, be sure to keep a good friend two close.  You may need someone to lean on.

And – though it is a good thing to be generous in spirit toward those who whine, don’t whine yourself.  It is not very productive.  Instead, find something to do; work hard at something – and, one of these days, things will get better.  It always has – it will again this time.  This is America.

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