Give and Take
I was somewhat surprised by the number of nuances covered in Give and Take.
I think I expected a basic “giving is good, taking is bad” kind of approach. But there is a lot more involved, and for anyone wanting to understand better how people operate, this book has a lot to offer.
That said, I was still struck by the long-lasting impact of each behavior. When someone is a “giver” and makes it a priority to contribute to other’s welfare, it becomes very easy to reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with, even several years later. A goodwill account has been built up in a way that a “taking” approach can never accomplish.
The thing I didn’t expect, but that made a lot of sense, was the downside of being a giver. Givers can end up at the top, but also at the bottom. I’ve seen that often—people who give and give and then end up with nothing. The difference is that some givers maintain an awareness of their personal needs and desires, and look for win-win scenarios, whereas others end up operating almost as martyrs—giving and giving in a self-sacrificial, even destructive way.
That’s challenging to communicate in a church environment. We talk often about the importance of being generous, not just with money but also with time, encouragement, forgiveness, support, etc. It seems to me that that needs to be balanced with good teaching on boundaries, or it can lead to some unhealthy behaviors. Not easy to do, but I’m now convinced of the importance of it.
What do you think? I’d like to hear about your experiences with givers and takers, and how to develop a healthy culture of giving.