Don’t Be This Person

A couple of weeks ago Kathy and I got away to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary. Our first night in Toronto included a dinner boat cruise around the harbour.


It was a beautiful night, the water was calm and the food was good. We enjoyed a relaxing meal and took in the smells, sights and sounds of the city skyline.

This particular cruise was limited to 40 guests and I imagine the hosts prepared what they thought would be enough food for everyone on board.

After the main course, we eventually made our way to the dessert table only to discover that there seemed to be more people than sweets.  Then I overheard some of the staff expressing their dismay that some guests helped themselves to enough desserts to leave them short.

With guests inquiring as to why they didn’t have something to go with their coffee and tea, the staff continued to scramble. I felt bad for them as they tried to resolve the problem.

Just then I walked by a table where a couple were sitting and they had at least 6 desserts in front of them (I don’t know if they had already eaten some). They appeared to be oblivious to what was going on, but sitting only a few feet from the commotion, I wondered how that was possible.

Hey, in the scheme of things, a few people going without dessert is not a big deal. Most of us could do without anyway, right?

Don’t Be This Person

I was embarrassed for the couple. I guess they were still hungry, but I don’t understand how someone can take so much at the expense of others.

Maybe it has something to do with what marriage counsellor Willard Harley describes as a basic concept he calls the giver and taker:

“All of us want to make a difference in the lives of other. We want others to be happy, and we want to contribute to their happiness. When we feel that way, our Giver is influencing us. The Giver’s rule is do whatever you can to make others happy and avoid anything that makes others unhappy, even if it makes you unhappy. It encourages us to use that rule in our relationships with other people.

But we also want the best for ourselves. We want to be happy, too. When we feel that way, our Taker is influencing us. The Taker’s rule is do whatever you can to make yourself happy, and avoid anything that makes yourself unhappy, even if it makes others unhappy. If that rule ever makes sense to you, it’s because your Taker is in control.

These two primitive aspects of our personality are usually balanced in our dealings with others.”

I want to be a giver not a taker, don’t you?

I guess the couple hoarding the desserts were acting from their “taker” instincts. But what a lousy way to live, don’t you think?

  • Put others first
  • Do unto others
  • Be kind
  • Love your neighbour

These are values that most of us have been taught to live out. To be a giver and not a taker.

Being a giver rather than a taker doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Some things we can give:

  • A smile
  • A compliment
  • A gift
  • Your anticipated parking spot
  • Room to merge
  • A kiss/ hug
  • Effort
  • A donation
  • Your time
  • Wise counsel
  • Forgiveness
  • Your seat on the bus
  • Encouragement

Being a giver rather than a taker is a matter of choice; a daily choice that becomes a habit; a habit that then can become a way of life. So don’t be that person. Be a giver not a taker.

I recently launched my first book and in the spirit of giving I’d love to give you a free copy. The book is called, “Parenting From Prison: 5 Lessons From Kids Behind bars.” 

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In it, I share my experience of speaking to about 50 teenagers at a juvenile detention centre in Ohio. It was a privilege to spend time there, not only sharing my story but hearing some of theirs as well. We spent about an hour in Q&A and some of their questions are highlighted in the book, as they point to specific parenting principles.

I you would like a copy or know of someone who might benefit form it, please for to the link below to get your free copy now.

The book is free for about 48 hours so please get it ASAP. And hey, if you would, leave a review on Amazon, that would be awesome. Thanks so much.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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