The Compound Effect Of Generosity
So we had an interesting experience at the drive thru of our coffee shop couple weeks ago. I cannot remember where were going, the five of us were on a mini road trip, it was a daytrip that we’re going somewhere, maybe an hour away. We pulled into local drive-thru of the coffee shop because we are lazy like that and we didn’t want to go out of the car. I was driving and Andrew was in the passenger seat next to me and Elizabeth, Nolan and Bill were in the back. The drive thru had a little tip jar and it was a windy day, the wind was blowing all around and the tip jar was open on top. The car in front of us, the driver took a dollar out and put it into the tip jar and we saw it swirling around and the dollar flew out of the tip jar and on to the ground below. We all saw it and I think it was clear that the driver in front of us did not see it as they are reaching in to grab their coffee.
We noticed the dollar sitting on the ground and Andrew got out of the car, open up the passenger side door and he moved around and squeezed between our car and there’s. He squeezed to the side of the building between the car and grab the dollar bill and he put it back into the tip jar. But the thing is, he didn’t tell us why he was getting out of the car. He just got out of the car really quickly. As he is moving over there, I’m thinking “oh my goodness! he can’t take that dollar.” If he takes the dollar, we have to tell him to put that dollar back because it is not yours.
So, I was very relieved and proud as a parent to see him take the dollar and put it back into the tip jar. He came back in and we made sure we praise them. I love what he did and it was really great to do that in front of his brothers, to be an example like that, an example of honesty because I know when I was a kid if I would see a money fall to the floor, I immediately would have thought that I can grab that money. I don’t know if I would’ve thought to put that back into the tip jar. If you’ve heard some stories from my past and judging by that, you could probably not be too surprised that would’ve done that. So, Elizabeth and I were very proud when he did that.
But what really interesting was that car pulled ahead and we pulled up to get our coffee and I think it was going to be about $8, maybe a little bit more for the coffees that we ordered. So we pulled up and I went to pay and the woman gave me the coffees and I went to pay her and she said to me “no, that was already covered by the people in front of you.” And were like “Really?” and I was thinking maybe this was like the pay it forward type of things which would be really generous of them. And she said “No. The people saw him pick up the dollar and put it back into the tip jar and they want to reward him for it.” So as a token, they wanted to pay for our order and I got to tell you as parents, we’re always trying to teach our kids lessons. You know we want school to teach them. We want adults to teach them. We wanted to learn right from wrong so he can go on and become great adults. I don’t think lecturing often does a great job of explaining to kids how they should do things. I know I never responded well when I was lectured to, when I was taught at and I was told to be this or told to be a certain way. But I can tell you that our kids learned a big lesson that morning in the drive thru of that coffee shop. Because we didn’t have to say a whole lot. Basically, the world just taught them through actions that generosity and thoughtfulness will get you way more than greed and selfishness. Because Andrew and Nolan and Dylan, all that day, us included saw that it would been very easy to go in there and take the one dollar and nobody else would’ve seen it. It was free money, it was easy money and we could justify that the wind was gonna blow it away anyway, it was going to get lost so might as well grab it and it was no lost to anybody because nobody even knew what they were going to miss out on. I trust that I had a fair share of this situation where I know you can get away with it. And I’ve got away in my life with way more things than I should have. most especially in my youth. But for our kids to see that if you take that dollar, if you go out of your way to go pick that dollar up and go put it back where it is supposed to be, people are watching and people notice but we don’t always know when people are watching. And Andrew had no idea that anybody was watching him when he did that. And not a whole lot of words have to be spoken because if you really think about it, if they noticed you doing something good, people can also notice you doing something bad. When you do bad things, you don’t always get caught, but many times you get seen. So you think you got away with it because you weren’t caught but being seen and not caught can be way worse because that’s how you start to destroy a reputation. And our reputations and our mistakes are really all that we have and when you destroy it, it takes a really long time to get back, if ever.
So, the point for Andrew, I hope that he learns and I hope eventually it really sinks into him, is to protect your reputation by doing the things you should be doing even when you think nobody is looking. Because even though you think somebody might not be looking, there might be somebody that will see what you’re doing. But what was really fun was to see him get rewarded for doing that and how even financially he prospers. Actually, he didn’t prosper, we prosper because we got free coffees. He really didn’t get anything so sorry Andrew. But for our family, he took a dollar that wasn’t his and gave it back and we wound up getting $8 in return. And that truly is a compound effect of generosity and if that lesson was learned in one or all of our kids, that fun day together as a family turned out to be one of the most educational days that they’re going to get in their lives.
I will be back with you tomorrow.