I currently work for Girl Scouts. You are probably aware that Girl Scouts sell cookies. A LOT of cookies. You may not be aware that only girls can sell these cookies and that there is a cookie “season” and the cookies are only sold during that time period. It’s a huge program and I do believe it teaches girls about goal setting, financial responsibility, and dealing with customers.
After the cookie sale is over and with the remaining inventory, we have some events where we give the cookies away to donors or places where we can get out our message. We held an event in the main hall of the North Dakota capitol. Four girls interacted with state officials about civic engagement and we gave away cookies. As a side note, these girls got to meet the Governor, Lt Governor, Attorney General, a bunch of state officials, and got on the floor of the ND Senate.
The event was a thank you and to raise awareness of the impact of Girl Scouts. As a colleague of mine says, “You can’t un-bake a cookie” and cookies have an expiration date so we give cookies away. Many people that came by our table couldn’t accept a simple gift. Why are we so unwilling to accept a gift?
A friend of mine went through a cancer surgery and needed a ride across the state to his home. I said I’d be glad to drive him. It was a long day, five plus hours there and five plus hours home, but it was nice to be able to help a little. On the drive I said to him, “Thank you for allowing me to help.” He looked confused and I explained how often people won’t accept help, which denies us the ability to give.
Why are we so unwilling to accept a gift? Is it pride? Being humble? Stubbornness? A cultural ethic? Feeling that we won’t be able to repay them or give something in return?
In so many situations, we don’t know how to help. Small gestures of kindness not only help the receiver, they help us. When we won’t receive a gift, we deny people the opportunity to give.