Jul 2, 2006


I read an article today that said that everyone living now has at least one common ancestor, and that ancestor is a fairly recent one, relative to the history of the world. It works like this. We each have two parents and they each had two. Those two also had two and so forth. So 2 x 2 =4 x 2=8 x 2 =16......Until we reach over 200,000,000 ancestors between 27 and 28 generations ago. If you accept that a generation is 20 to 25 years, then the 200,000,000 ancestor mark is between 5400 and 7600 years back. The estimated population of the world 5600 years ago was about 200,000,000 and therefore we all related through at least one common ancestor. That's pretty interesting stuff. It seems that the Buddhist thought that everyone was your mother at some time is more or less scientifically plausible. Of course, you are in the crowd that thinks that the world is only 4000 years-old, you will not be impressed. That brings me to my real point, which is giving. The Get-Out-of-Debt guru Dave Ramsey points out that there are only three things you can do with money: Save it, spend it and give it. We all have the spending part figured out and I blog enough about saving, so here are my thoughts on giving. 1. Make a plan to give and stick to it. Give what you think is right. 2. Give to what makes sense to you. You don't owe an explanation for your choices. 3. Don't call attention to your giving. The admiration of others is not why we give. 4. Give without strings attached or expectations. Giving doesn't automatically make my life swell, but it makes me less selfish, which opens the possibility of improvement. The way I give is like the way I save and for the same reason. I do it more or less automatically, because otherwise I may not get around to it. I might find some cool stuff I need instead. First of all, the lovely Mrs. Sneed and I support our local United Way through payroll deduction. We also have 5 organizations we give to monthly. I have set it up through my checking account's bill pay service to pay these on the first of the month. That works well for me. When it comes to giving we support human services like the local Food Bank and other programs for the poor. I try not to be judgmental about the recipients of these groups. My theory is that people are where they are because they either make bad choices or lack the wherewithal to make good ones. I'll leave their worthiness to receive to those who are committed to helping, I am just a donor. Once the money leaves my hand it is no longer my business who gets it. One thing I have noticed about giving is when you give to a group, they ask for more. One rule that I have for myself is that I don't usually vary from my programmed giving. The need for giving is unlimited, so I could never give enough to meet the need. I don't get caught up in extra requests. Another thing that works well for me is trying to stay as anonymous as possible about giving. Giving means not wanting anything in return, even an inflated ego because of how terrific I am for giving. Give it and forget it is my giving motto. I sometimes read about a local individual or family who has suffered a tragedy and needs financial help. I give to them if I am moved to. Usually there is a bank account set up to receive donations. Try this. Walk into the bank with your donation in cash and hand it to a teller to deposit in the account. No names, no receipts. Then just walk out. The only one who knows you did it is you. For a moment or two your harshest critic is subdued. If we all are related through at least one ancestor, think of it as helping out family. You do what works for you. Merle. Tag: