My Very Own Mother Theresa – Part II
I am back for part two which I hope doesn’t run for more than eight seconds (kidding, kidding – I do hope I can hold my readers’ attention for at least ten seconds).
So, a few days ago, we had a conversation about whether or not ALTRUISM comes naturally to us humans. Altruism is defined as the willingness to do things that bring advantages to others, even if it results in disadvantages for ourselves. The debate was endless, prompting me to look up scientific research behind the act of good deeds.
One article that stuck to my mind highlighted Charles Dickens’ classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. Remember him? The selfish, miserable, narcissistic old man that despised Christmas, the time of kindness and giving. The night before Christmas, Scrooge gets visited by four spirits, who show him that he wasn’t always like that, he was born a giving, happy man. Scrooge rediscovers the joy of good deeds and blooms with the ‘helper’s high’ – his spirit is reborn to a cheerful and merry man!
In the last few years, scientists have looked at the so-called ‘helper’s high’ and found that it has amazingly positive effects on our overall health, purpose and even longevity. In everyday life, countless people choose to give up free time to volunteer and help others. Whether some choose to define it as a selfish act rather than selfless, I personally feel it is irrelevant as you are giving to others from an innate goodness within you.
Last week, I wanted to continue sharing one of my Mother Theresa’s grass root projects that has highlighted to me and many around us the struggles for the basic necessities for thousands in our midst. In 2013, my mom began a small project from our very own home. During Ramadan, we would pack boxes filled with rice, sugar, beans, cooking oil, tea, salt, and many more commodities to give away to those less fortunate. As we remember the term ‘hunger’, we must remember those who experience it always. Last year alone, she fed over 580 families and this year we have already distributed to 768 families and will easily break the 800 mark. Her initiative has touched many and we continue to see a rise in the willingness of people to lend a helping hand. A growing community of people wanting to give, closely following up with the initiative and compassionately supporting with touching words and love.
Along the way, bigger projects come into play. When my mom first started distributing boxes this year, she came across a woman that had no running water to bath, cook, or clean with. She and her son would have to walk to the sea everyday to fill up buckets of water for use. Her ‘bed’ is actually not a bed, just several blankets piled up on top of each other for both of them to sleep on. Last week, an installation was made giving her and her son running water at home for the first time.
These stories have been a daily reminder for me to be grounded, count my blessings and realize the extent our small good deeds can truly impact and touch people’s lives. I hope that wherever you are today, you realize that altruism is a natural habit in us all and I pray that God gives us all the strength and humility to help those in need and those less fortunate than us.