“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10)
One of my favorite things to do is to give gifts to others. I do not get carried away with wrapping, cards, and all that stuff; I hand the items out most of the time. They are little gifts, some more significant gifts, and sometimes gifts no one knows about.
Giving gifts comes from the deep roots of my childhood. My parents were simple, kind, and humble. I can not think of a time we were not making, doing, or giving something to someone. We had two little ole ladies who visited our home each week to bring eggs. I was a little girl then, and they sometimes got something for me. They would come in through the back door and sit at the table. My mother would often give them noodles she had made with eggs. (I think this is why I have everyone come to my back door and sit at my table in the kitchen/dining area, it feels like home.) I can still see the smiles and hear the sounds of laughter.
I probably give more than I should, and sometimes people think there has to be a catch; nothing is free in life. I shopped with my mother often, and we always bought the items on sale or at reduced costs. I knew we could afford higher-cost things because, at a young age, I managed the checkbook. The lesson being taught was the price tag on items does not make them better. “Never judge based on cost, the shiny look, the label, but understand the value of saving money.” These are not my mother’s exact words, but they are pretty close. My dad taught me the same things about people. “You do not know their story until they read it to you.” My father spoke to everyone; yes, I mean everyone. I get my gift of talking from him. I love to talk to people. I so want them to tell me the stories they want to share. If we could all share more, we would learn and care more.
One of the lessons I have learned about sharing is to be careful of how it will affect others. Clarification of this statement in terms of leadership is in the hidden costs of gift-giving and sharing. Here are a few examples:
- You are the principal of the building with a building budget. The budget does not reflect the funding you need to implement some of the points in your vision. What can you do?
- You can request additional funding from the district.
- Contact area businesses and organizations to partner with you to meet the funding needs.
- Have an anonymous donor help you.
If you have been with a building for several years and begin something that develops into a tradition, your funding source may need to be transparent if you leave the position. How can the new leader replicate this program or project without funding? Making sure you have a funding source that can remain in place even after you are gone is the best way to give. As I continued my journey, I corrected myself by ensuring the funding sources would continue if I were no longer in my position.
- You are the team manager and are known for always helping. Your motto is always family first. A team member has been notified of a death in the family but will need extra days to help with this loss. Others on the team want to help by offering days to the individual to cover their leave. The team member with the death in the family is the highest-paid employee; those offering to donate days are among the lowest paid. How do you move forward?
- Hopefully, most of the signed contracts has this clearly defined on the use of sick-days, vacation days and grievance days. In addition, you have the human factor. Everyone, in their life span will deal with a death close to their hearts. As leaders we help with compassion to find solutions to support what they need in the season of grief.
When making decisions, you must follow the guidelines but advocate as much as possible for the human factor in those areas that are not always crystal clear.
The human factor is always so important when making decisions. Keep in mind those areas which need the flexibility to help those in need.
I want to thank my followers for giving me the gift of your time, the value of your thoughts, and the appreciation of your kindness. Every day I write for you and pray I provide you with something you need. As we approach the time of year with the most significant gift-giving, can I tell each of you how much I appreciate your gift to me each day. Merry Christmas and blessings to all!