We often consider "philanthropy" as the province of the rich and famous and we almost always connect it to generous financial donations to a worthy cause; which is commendable, but is that what philanthropy really is or means?

Macquarie Dictionary states philanthropy as "a love of mankind, as manifest in deeds of practical benefit". So a rich benefactor usually fits this criteria, but what about you and me, what do we have to give?

I would like to suggest we can all be philanthropists with our time. We all have an equal amount given to us each day and we can all choose how we use it. Ask yourself how generous you are with your time?

I know we all have time commitments, which are important to holding our lives together, but have we become a bit like "Scrooge" with our attitudes; holding it all for work and neglecting some of the important things that could do with a more philanthropic attitude.

The interesting thing is that when we start to give generously there seems to be more to go round. It also seems that when we are generous to others it comes back in often unexpected ways.

So then where should we start and who should we practice our philanthropic generous attitude out on? My suggestion would be start anywhere, but family members should be your first consideration. Small random acts of considered kindness, from parents to children, and children to parents can draw us closer in many ways. Often we say "I'll do it later" which often misses the moment.

Simple things such as small acts of kindness to complete strangers, helping out with kids sport or just listening to someone's story take little time but make a big difference.

The last person to consider, who is often forgotten, is you. When was the last time you did something just for you? We can be so busy our needs get forgotten and all work and no play makes us dull in many ways.

The final thing I would say about philanthropy is that it must be an unconditional gift. If we only do things for others to somehow gain a benefit for ourselves it isn't really a gift. Practice giving some of your time without thought of personal gain and I believe we can change a lot that is toxic in our modern world.

Have a good day

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