What is the art of giving? 

Generally speaking, the art of giving is the expression of one's creative way of sharing. It can be both intrinsic and extrinsic, and it encompasses many areas in life. We give what we can, when we can, and how we can. 

Children are intrinsic givers. Sharing comes naturally to them. Sure, there are times when toddlers learn the word "mine" and refuse to share their favorite toy, but as a whole, they willingly and openly share what they have with others. Children are not the only ones who are intrinsic givers, so are you. 

Every time you show kindness to another person, tolerate someone's ideas or lifestyle, understand a predicament, sympathize with a bruised heart, forgive a wrong, or lend a hand to a stranger--you are practicing the art of giving. And, it doesn't stop there. When you share your dreams, ideas, values, thoughts, writing, peace, faith, hope, struggles, and triumphs--you are practicing the art of giving. When you encourage, inspire, guide, mentor, and empathize--you are practicing the art of giving. 

I had an opportunity to see the art of giving up close and personal this last week when a family member was ill. The ICU nurses and doctors went far beyond what their job title told them they must do. They were all the things above and more. So to Rhonda, Megan, Bret, Greg, Todd, Mary Ann, and Kyle at Legacy's Salmon Creek Hospital in Vancouver, Washington--thank you for embodying the art of giving!

One last thought on the art of giving from Robert Louis Stevenson: 

"You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving." 

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