At the school where I work we have a theme for assemblies each week. This week the theme is “Give and Take”.
It is interesting to reflect on things which we give and take personally. Some times we can feel like all we go is give, give, give. And we see others who take, take, take. Some times we need to give someone a piece of our mind, or maybe we take the easy way out. Sometimes we feel like we have nothing left to give.
This lent 40 acts has again been challenging people to look at practising generosity in a variety of ways, not just giving money. It can be a useful way to think about what you are giving and when. Hopefully it will help some of us think about giving more than we think about taking.
But I started to think about Chennai Challenge as a whole, what does Chennai Challenge give? What does Chennai Challenge take? Here are a few of my thoughts on that:
We give people opportunities, by offering to take people to India.
We give team members an experience, by taking them out of their comfort zones.
We give resources and funding for projects in Chennai, by taking money from people (Justgiving).
We take time out of the normal lives, to give something to others.
I would like to think that we try to give more than we take, but somehow I am not sure if we do. Once we have a team in Chennai, we certainly give away more money and resources than people can give us there. As a project leader I have given my wisdom and knowledge(?) to team members during the training. We give out our energy when we are running sessions at YMCA Kottivakkum Boys Town, when we take the Boys who live there to Camp Yellagiri we give out even more energy. When we work with Oasis and the Blue edge project we give our first hand knowledge of speaking English.
Yet at the end of a project, I have never felt like all I have done is give. In fact I normally feel like I have given less than I have taken. I have always taken a huge sense of being welcomed. I have been given hospitality that is far beyond what I have expected. I have been given such thanks for the small things I have done and shown so much genuine gratitude and love that it seems a cheat to say that I have given anything at all.
I think it is very hard to be able to give and genuinely get nothing back. Even though I may not have been given any great financial or physical reward, I have always taken more than I could ever give through my experiences with Chennai Challenge.