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Written by Michal Park – Senior Adviser

I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a Hudson client last week – an honour really, in light of restrictions on numbers allowed to attend due to Covid-19.  Joy was referred to me by her son (a long time Hudson member) and her sole motivation when talking with me was to preserve as much of her estate as possible for her children and grandchildren.  I had to tell Joy on a number of occasions that she had the right to live a little and SKI (Spend the Kids Inheritance) – I mean, she was in her 90’s! 

At her service, I was very moved to hear her life story and hear that this altruism was a common theme throughout her life.  As a young married woman (having given up her career as a nurse to marry) with limited funds, Joy still managed to bake and provide food for those who were hungry and opened her door to those who needed shelter.  In her later years, she made cards and sold them in the local community to raise funds for the purchase of rickshaws for families in India.  She financed the purchase of 72 rickshaws, at a cost of $700 each, totalling $50,000.  That’s a lot of cards sold! In her much later years, she spent her time visiting residents at a retirement village – residents often older than her.  She was a woman who literally served others and was defined by her strong Christian faith.

In keeping with this theme of serving others, my youngest daughter came to me during the week and asked if I had any spare time to assist with Tuckshop on a Friday?  I had to explain to her that 5 years ago I was very involved in volunteering at the school (tuckshop helper, stall convenor at the school fair, school banking coordinator and canteen convenor for the swim club) but since finding myself divorced, working full time and raising three daughters (and two fur daughters) I simply do not have the time to gift now!!

It got me thinking about the ways in which I do give back.  I know I give monthly to a couple of charities of my choosing, but, and I’m ashamed to say, that’s the extent of it.  Oh, I’ve thought about many things – donating blood on a regular basis, establishing a “street library” in my front yard to name a few.   I’m even aware of the psychological benefits in giving to others – essentially positive wellbeing.  Sometimes we think of wellbeing in terms of what we have: Our comfort, our income, our home, our car, our job. But evidence shows that what we do and the way we think actually have a far more meaningful impact on mental health and wellbeing. 

Small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger acts – such as volunteering in your local community – can give you a sense of purpose and make you feel happier and more satisfied about life.  In the current climate with physical isolation often impacting mental health, altruism is a very important consideration in helping to navigate feelings of negative wellbeing.

A number of clients spring to mind when I think about what they do for others:

  • regularly volunteering at a local Men’s Shed
  • presenting seminars on Prostate Cancer having lived experience
  • fostering children
  • beach clean-ups with Sea Shepherd
  • assisting farmers on their properties

Follow me on my Two Minute Tuesday’s with Michal and let me know the ways in which you give back – to inspire myself and others!

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