Sunday, May 11, 2014

We are Givers or Takers

I went to the washroom the other night. I was surprised. I came out and said to my wife, "I don't remember eating corn?".  She said "that was me".  "Oh, okay" I said.  She looked at me and started laughing.  I am very dumb.  What does this have to do with Givers and Takers?  Absolutely nothing. (If I have to explain the little story, you are in my group)

I was at a Feast the other day. A good feed for us that went. It was a Feast to honour those who completed a Treatment program for drug alcohol abuse. After the Feast I sat around and visited. People started to clean up. They started to re-arrange the chairs and started to take down the tables. I got up and started to help a little bit. We finished putting the tables away and putting chairs back to where they were supposed to be for workshops.  The ladies who were doing most of the work laughed together and were talking. They said "where did all the men go?"  "They ate and left".  They were speaking about some of the male staff and male members of the program. All of them seemed to melt off with the crowd.

That is something isn't it?  The ladies laughed about it, but it did highlight the way things go sometimes. You have to be smart and take off before you are the only one left to do the work. 

Actually, it is about Givers and Takers. There are those of us that take things for granted. We go and accept all sorts of kindness, generousity, rewards, perks, food, Ceremony Blessings and don't think about reciprocity. In other words Giving back.  We are glad to Take what is out there. We go to the Sweat Lodge and don't even bother to bring a small offering or Tobacco. We let the volunteers take our kids to hockey games. We take it all in.

Sometimes as takers we even get upset with the Givers. We say things like "how come its always them coaching the kids?"  Why don't they get some else to sit on the Board?  We resent those damn people who are always volunteering or are always willing to speak or give a hand.  That is the weird way we take things.

I like Givers. They make a lot us have easier times. They are always willing to chop wood, go and pick Grandfathers for the Sweat Ceremony. Stay up at the Sacred Fires for Wake services.  They are the ones that will show up and bring food to your service or Gathering. They will come sing at your event, Wake or Ceremony. Man those Givers can't seem to stop giving.  They will stay and help clean up after an event. They will take their own trash of the tables and go put them in the garbage bins or cans. Us takers even leave our half full cups of cold coffee on the table for someone else to pick up. 

I was speaking with my brother the other day about organizational culture. He is trying to change the culture in his work place. He wants people to be conscientious about their place of work and what they are doing. We talked about "how when you work for people you are working for the Creator".  We talked about being a good citizen in the work place and what that entails. You know the type of person who will do what is not expected of him. Like the person who will pick up a dirty cup someone left in the board room. Or the person who will help another co-worker with out expectation of recognition. Those are the types of things that make a good work place, when people become more of a Giver than a Taker.  You know the type only there to exchange labour service for purely financial reward or recognition. 

I guess you know which category you may be on. But you know what?  Being a Giver can be in all of us. Not just Giving for those that are close to us and when we are being watched, but Giving even when no one will know we are Giving.  Isn't that cool? 

There are many Givers in our community. The many that take the time to come to the Wake services (no matter whose Wake) and sing for the families (Gospel and Traditional). There are the Fire Keepers like Radford Courchene who volunteers unselfishly to watch the Fire at your Service Wake. I really appreciate those people and I know our community (Sagkeeng) is a better place because of those Givers. 

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