HEADLINES

Stingy. Generous. Prodigal

Vol. XCI No. 13

Dec. 13, 2019


The fortunate give unto others help and resources, that the less fortunate may use it to improve their lives. A person born of privilege may prefer to keep things to themselves, opting to wash clean of the responsibility of alleviating the hardships faced by their poor counterparts. When we have an excess of what is needed, we usually throw and spend, only after the deed is done will we then regret our lavish actions.

tWS believes that Christmas, for arguably all of time, has always highlighted the aspect of generosity to others as part of its distinctions from other events celebrated over the course of a year. Generosity is a virtue, observed by individuals regardless of the time of year. Like most virtues, it has its own vices — a lack, or excess, thereof.

Stinginess is the first vice and is a lack of generosity. Defined as ‘not liking to give or spend,’ this trait is observed in all of us — whether it is material or not. A stingy person may exhibit their lack by remaining neutral in times of need or by amassing things for the self, giving none to others. Nature doesn’t permit life without stinginess, only a life of vigilance and empathizing the concept of losing something. Though not necessarily experiencing it, the feeling of loss makes people realize that keeping for themselves will more often than not drive them to a guilty existence. Eventually, the overwhelming feeling of sensing the loss within the people who surround will overturn even the hardest of hearts.

The vice opposite of stinginess is prodigality. A lavish lifestyle and irresponsible spending of one’s resources constitutes to this equally terrible vice. A clear example of this is a parable from the Bible entitled The Prodigal Son, setting out and squandering his wealth in a foreign land. The takeaway from the story is that the son made the right choice to return home and admit to his mistakes. What is prominent with prodigality is regret, brought by imprudence and lack of self-control. People exhibit prodigality through excessive selflessness, guilty overcompensation, and being oblivious of their spending.

Like stinginess, prodigality is unavoidable, but it is all the same preventable; Practicing frugality and prudence are a step in the right direction, as well as being careful and keeping track of the things you give away.

There is no shortage of people who belong on both sides, but there are those who belong in the median; they are the reason for the holidays’ allure of kindness. A person generous of the heart is well-balanced in giving and keeping to themselves. Because of this, they are a rather rare find, especially in our time, because people are rather inconsistent. It is true that we sometimes lack discipline, but remember that it is through falling short that we can see our mistakes. We correct our prodigality through the regret we feel; we fix stinginess through experiencing or understanding loss.

tWS advises against being stingy and prodigal. Instead, we must aim to be consistently generous, not just for the holiday season, but all of the time — a fitting resolution before ending 2019.

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