Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Spiritual Preparation

Part of Virtue Ethics

At which are you better, giving or receiving? Some people love to give, but are less comfortable receiving from others. If this is the case with you, think of a time you gave away something, although you did not possess it in abundance. How did that feel? Did you feel liberated? Did you feel generous? Did your act give you joy? Holding that feeling, imagine someone giving something to you—a resource you lack. Perhaps someone shown patience with you, when you were impatient with yourself, or shared wisdom with you exactly when you needed it. Imagine the giver being filled with that sense of liberation, that joy. Realize that by graciously receiving their generosity, you enabled these wonderful feelings.

Now think about the kind of giver you are. Is there something you have been called on to give, but of which you cannot let go? Are you debating stepping up to accept a position of leadership? Are letters from charities piling up on your desk? Imagine yourself giving this resource away. Could your giving transform someone's life? Imagine their joy. Imagine your feeling of liberation.

Imagine your soul's capacity for generosity growing, as you focus on abundance instead of scarcity. Balance the benefits with the real possible consequences. What is the worst that could happen? How would you survive it? Would the risk be worth the potential gain? Only you can decide. The trick is to make sure your choices reflect your values.