I have a picture stuck in my head. It’s a picture of a sweet little boy who ran to my son and gave him a piece of candy. Nothing particularly remarkable about that except this little boy lived in the Kibera slum … and he was giving his only piece of candy that someone from our visiting group had given him. This little boy didn’t think, how can I keep this for myself? He instead multiplied the joy by giving his candy away.

This action had a profound effect on my son — who has watched kids grab for hands full of candy at birthday parties, trying to see how much more they could get than their neighbor, filling their pockets with sweets they will never eat. This is a lesson to be learned for many of us, those with pockets full of many treasures: time, money, expertise, influence, possessions.

There is joy in giving without expectations. I have rarely regretted being more generous. The times when I have regretted being generous were times that I had expectations. Maybe expectations of thanks. Or of repayment. Or of recognition.

Yet, when I have given with hands-open, no-strings-attached generosity, my joy has overflowed and I find myself longing to give more … to be generous to someone else. It’s as though giving multiplies the desire to give. Generosity expands our longing to be generous.

So here’s to more generosity without rear-view mirrors. To giving with both hands open wide. To childlike joy in sharing our only piece of candy.

How can you be no-strings-attached generous today?
Image via Jadyn Noelle


  1. Thank you for sharing this sweet, sweet story. I constantly read about how those with the least to give are the most generous, and it’s such an important reminder to always be thinking of others. Much appreciated!

  2. What a beautiful story to have witnessed the little boy in the slum “manipulating happiness,” and an important story to share too! I’ve begun working on strengthening my compassion and generosity and hadn’t even thought how the expectation of gratitude was holding me back. Thank you for sharing your thoughtfulness!

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