2024-07-17 7:15 AM

Editorial: Are You a Giver, Or a Taker?

An individual can effectively evaluate his or her relationships with others on the basis of a very simple test question: Is the other person in question a net “giver” or “taker” in your life?

Of course, exceptions are made for dependents, children, the elderly and the many others in our society who are in one way or another disabled and in need of care. Pets are a whole other story. 

Here’s a story our editor has told often, and it pertains to a real event: A number of years back, at a party in a friend’s new home, where the surroundings were generally unfamiliar, he parked on the side of a road with no sidewalk but a ditch next to it, instead, not uncommon for this area. He parked too far off the road onto a rain soaked shoulder, and found that at the  conclusion of the party, he was unable to drive out.

While it was clear what his predicament was, almost all other party goers simply walked past him as he tried to get his car to move, but only waved or smiled, unwilling to help. Except for one person, that is, a friend but not a best friend. His immediate impulse was to provide some of his own human energy to the situation. He got in front of the car, and as the driver slowly accelerated, began to push. It was not easy. As it was lightly raining, this fellow, in fact, slipped and fell more than once in his effort, getting his party clothes dirty in the process. It was an unforgettable sight for our editor behind the wheel, looking through his windshield to see this Good Samaritan grunting and shoving, and then suddenly disappearing below the hood, having slipped to the ground…more than once.

Well, of course the effort was eventually a success. The fellow refused, of course, any compensation for his struggle. It was a good deed, in and of itself, but if anything, his reward was in the fact that our editor never forgot what he did, and retold the story often, including in this editorial. If anyone wants to know who we’re talking about, they should ask us.

A small and insignificant event, to be sure. But in the grand scheme of things, the kind of event that can define an entire life. 

It goes with the territory that being in the newspaper business most people one encounters are “takers.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We are providing a valuable service for the public and people should be encouraged to take advantage of it, as we have encouraged for over 33 years, helping small businesses, for example, to peddle their wares through affordable advertising, but obviously also much much more.

But for us, when it comes to the big picture, on matters of legacy and such, we look to givers, not takers, for friends and allies with whom to shape the future.

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