Essay Contest: Giving is Receiving — Jonathan Liu

Jonathan LiuJonathan Liu (9th grade)

Giving is Receiving

6 December, 2015

Given the choice of giving or receiving, humanity’s first instinct would be to take in. However, the value of giving to others reaps greater benefits to the individual and society as a whole. Giving to others may create a better societal environment, and can also contribute to greater gifts than what one would have initially received.

To provide for the needs of others in sacrifice of one’s own time or possessions is a very important piece of a societal environment. It brings forth a more prominent and preferable culture and surrounding where individuals could mutually connect with one another. The very essence of generosity is a strong force, able to compel individuals to unite and create an impact on the world. One can see this in nations all over the world coming together to provide money through donations to other nations in need, whether it be refugees, terrorism, or persecution. Giving to others may create a more prominent environment and lead to greater results than what one would have initially received. Giving to others may deepen and lead to stronger relationships. Giving to others may build a more humble personality in both the giver and the receiver. As entrepreneur Percy Ross said, “It’s not a question of how much one gives. Am I a better person if I gave away $2 million than if I gave $1 million?” The true virtue of giving doesn’t depend on how small or large the gift, it depends on the willingness and reason of the giver.

Florence Shinn once said, “Giving opens the way for receiving.” Take the case of Paul O’ Neill and the Aluminum Company of America. In 1987, numerous Wall Street investors gathered in a Manhattan ballroom to meet Paul O’ Neill, the new chief executive of Alcoa and former government bureaucrat. At the meeting O’Neill spoke about worker safety instead of the typical “promise to boost profits and lower cost”. O’ Neill didn’t say anything about profits but dedicated the entire presentation to his ambition of having zero factory injuries within Alcoa. In other words, O’ Neill put others before himself. O’ Neill chose to provide for the needs of the workers of Alcoa instead of focusing on how to increase his own salary. Within two years, Alcoa’s profits had doubled. How did O’ Neill’s ambition to give instead of receive lead to such drastic results? O’ Neill one day said to the workers, “If your management doesn’t follow up on safety issues, then call me at home, here’s my number.” Due to O’ Neill’s efforts toward the safety of the workers, slowly safety became less of a problem. Now, when workers called, they gave profound ideas instead of issues on safety. O’ Neill’s focus on safety created an environment where new ideas rose to the surface. Had O’ Neill not provide for the needs of others and instead focused solely his own welfare, Alcoa’s profits would not have risen more than 200 percent than what it had in 1987.

Starting off, giving may seem to be a loss, but one should remember it is only temporary, for you never know in what way giving, indirectly may provide more than what you started with, whether it be moral ethics, character, better friendships, trust, respect, personality, or profits. For it is said in Luke 6:38,    “Give, and you will receive.” Ironically, behind the scenes, giving, is indeed receiving.

Updated: December 7, 2015 — 3:01 am
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