Our daughter’s parakeet is warbling and chattering away as I write this. She brings so much joy to our house with her little personality and beautiful chirping. I’m thinking back to the day we were at the mall and we visited the pet store. The manager took an interest in our desire for a bird and spent about 20 minutes asking us questions and educating us on kinds of birds, what they are like, cost, and other things to consider when selecting a flying pet. He seemed to find true joy in sharing what he knew with us. His style was not pushy, but generous. He encouraged the burgeoning animal expert, affirming her research and engaging in an educated discussion of birds.
After some comparative shopping online, several weeks later, we went to a large pet store to select a parakeet. The woman working the department said to me, “You’re not planning to put a bird in that cage are you?” I stammered at the harsh tone of her question, looking at the cage we had brought from home. The woman then went on to educate us on the appropriate ways to take care of a parakeet. When my daughter tried to chime in to the one-sided conversation she was either corrected or shot down. In spite of this treatment, our daughter bought the bird and has been very happy with her friendly and happy personality. While she came away with a bird…I came away with a stark contrast of a generous mind with one that was not generous.
But what makes one a generous mind and the other not? After all, they both gave information about birds. Intention is the invisible difference. From my perspective, the man at the mall seemed to be trying to add to our knowledge of birds in order to enhance our enjoyment and experience with a new pet. The woman at the larger pet store seemed to be trying to get us to follow the rules as she saw them. One intention was generous, the other was about control.
Can you think of a time you have shared information for the sake of control?
Tell us about an experience you have had with a generous mind.