Monday, December 20, 2010


GLAD stands for Give Lovingly And Daringly.

I discovered this concept in the book Glad No Matter What, by SARK (pen name for Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy). The author suggests that we can help the world by giving more, and giving more creatively.

We all have something to give, and giving not only benefits the recipient, but also benefits the giver. We are happier when we are sharing our gifts, whether that is money, time, talent, kindness, or ideas.

Oprah once gave $1000 to every audience member with the instruction that the money had to be given away. She had a follow up show to tell the stories of what people did with the money. That was the coolest show. Some people gave the money directly to their chosen recipients, and it was interesting to see the variety of choices. Others used the money as seed money to generate even more funds to donate. The ideas they came up with were so imaginative. But the best part was watching how darned happy everyone was. They were just giddy with generosity.

That show made me realize that I had not done a good job of teaching my kids to give. Well, that’s not entirely true. They have always participated in volunteer activities. But I had not taught them to give money. I have always donated money to organizations I support, but I always did it quietly and usually anonymously. I felt good in my own heart, but what I realized was that my kids never saw me do this. While I was doing a good job of teaching them to earn and manage their money, I totally dropped the ball on the giving part.

I have heard many great ideas from parents about how to teach their kids to give, and I would be delighted if you would share ideas in your comments. I’m sure many of you have done a much better job than I did! But that show really caught my attention. So I sat down with the kids and explained the concept. Then I pledged a certain amount of money for each kid to donate. I said we would do it every year.

They got into the spirit right away. It was fun to watch them explore and compare options. When they made their choices, I accompanied them to the organization so that they could give the check in person and see what their money was going to be used for. One daughter gave her money to the Humane Society. The director was so gracious and took her on a tour, explaining all the ways that donations help the animals.

The best part is that I now see them making the choice to donate some of their own money.

Of course, what we give doesn’t have to be money. So I am going to accept the GLAD challenge to think more consciously about all the blessings I have that I can share in more creative ways.


  1. Oh i love it Galen... This year we are planning to purge our house from top to bottom and have a garage sale with half the funds going to the SPCA and half going to a new ultra sound machine in our local hospital... I am looking forward to it so much!

  2. GP: Once I gave an assignment to a high school class I was teaching. They had to do a random act of kindness and write a report on it. There was a twist. The beneficiaries of the kindnesses could not know who was kind to them. That was a big problem for the kids. They had no problem with the act, but not being able to take credit for it really got to them. I learned a great deal from the assignment.

  3. I love the concept of GLAD give lovingly and daringly. It's such a noble ideal... and agree it's something we need to pass on to our kids. I didn't do such a good job of that... not insisting that they pass it on in a meaningful way. But I lived my life that way and hopefully they learned something from that. [If only I could have that time over - but it's just so darned busy when you're in the middle of child rearing] I saw that episode of Oprah [amazingly]because I am not a fan of daytime tv but remember that feeling as well... how great it was to see people transformed by the giving process. So great to see. Love your blog. The colors here are amazing!

    Thanks Galen for visiting me... it's so lovely to meet you!

  4. Excellent post, Galen! I love SARK's acronym - Giving Lovingly and Daringly. What a great challenge. I tend to be a giver but sometimes I give too much (enabling) sometimes I give too little out of fear or laziness and sometimes, often times, I give for the wrong reasons - wanting the credit like JJ's students, or out of obligation. So, in this season of giving (how timely is your post!) I accept the challenge. As for teaching your children to give, I highly recommend checking out the Dollar Stretcher website ( Excellent on all things money and frugal. I LOVE this site. But the other tip I've heard somewhere is to teach children 10/10/80. 10% of their allowance to give, 10% of their allowance to save, the balance to use as they want.

  5. Hi Galen,

    I love the acronym GLAD. Giving more in a creative manner is indeed a great way to help the world. It doesn't matter what we give as long as it is done sincerely for the good of the recipient. The act of true giving does not require anything in return, as long as the recipient benefits, we have already received our repayment. That is the joy of sharing what we have willingly.

    I have never watched Oprah, but I think the story you shared about her giving $1000 to every audience member to give away is an awesome story. It is interesting how creative humans can be when they put their minds to it. This is especially important when it comes to giving because there is too much taking in the world as it is.

    I like how you have made the effort in instill the spirit of giving in your kids. I am too young to have kids so I doubt I have anything to add about teaching children to give. But from what you have shared, there is wisdom in your actions in helping your kids to follow through and encouraging them. I believe they will learn the lesson of giving well from you.

    Thank you for reminding us to give in creative ways! :)

    Irving aka the Vizier

  6. Ah yes giving without taking credit. I gave this assignment to my children not long ago, where we would put surprise packages on the doorsteps of several people, and they so enjoyed the act of being secretive and to this day they can keep pretty darn quiet when they know it's for a good thing!...I think it's also taught them that what's in the package isn't always the best gift.....

  7. Great ideas! I especially like the idea of not taking credit for the giving. I will try that with our donation practice this coming year. I know some parents who use the 10/10/80 method. I wish I had done that when my kids were growing up. And thank you for the other resources to check out.

    Aneri--what is Kiva??

  8. Galen,
    Kiva is loans that change lives :)

    Its where you loan out small amounts to entrepreneurs in countries like Rwanda, Peru, Cambodia, etc. The amount can be as large as you want, and as small as $25. A lot of people come together to fulfill the amount requested. Which is how you can help with as little as $25!

    They have a fixed amount of time to repay the loan, and you can either withdraw it or re-loan it to some else. The return rate is very high. I have sponsored 6 people so far, and have very promptly been repaid.

    What I like about it is that you really are helping them while not shelling out charity (which might hurt some people's self respect), and you can keep helping more people with the same money.

    I have asked my friends and family to sponsor folks at Kiva instead of getting me birthday or holiday gifts (I do have everything I need and more).

    They have a really nice holiday gift program going on right now called Kiva Cards.

    I think I have said enough :)
    Do check them out at:

  9. Galen,
    One more thing...
    They also have a program for getting high school students started.

  10. Aneri, what a terrific plan. Thank you for sharing this information and I will definitely check it out!

    This reminds me of Heifer Project, an organization that donates animals that will produce food and income. The recipients are required to give away offspring of the donated animals to other families. So one pair of goats, for example, could end up helping an entire village.

  11. Yes, I am a member of Heifer too, but have not sponsored anyone yet.

    Thanks to your post, I went to my Kiva account, and found I had enough money repaid to sponsor yet another entrepreneur :) That brings me to 7, and I credit that to you :)

  12. I love SARK's stuff. I had quite a few of her books.
    What a gift you are giving to your own children. They will gain so much by learning how to give to others.

  13. Giving is a wonderful feeling. I enjoying giving more than receiving

  14. fashionista--Thanks for your comment!


Your comment is valuable and valued. Comment moderation is enabled to block spam, so please excuse the brief delay until your comment appears on the blog.