Funny Side Up – November 2022


No Reason Needed to Give to Others from the Heart

     “Just because” is what my late mom Sylvia would sign on the little tag of a gift bag – a gift she would give to me when it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas or some other holiday.
     Her reasoning was it doesn’t have to be a special occasion to give someone a gift.
     Don’t misunderstand me. My mom loved holidays and birthdays and gift-giving in general, but she taught me there are moments in life when you don’t need a reason to give someone a gift.
     You are giving to someone or a charity, whether it’s a gift or your time – just because.
     So here it is November, the month in which the holiday “Thanksgiving” lives. Of course, most people think about being thankful for their blessings, people and family in their lives or they may think of giving to others.
     My mom’s theory, and now mine too, is that it doesn’t have to be November or December or a birthday, wedding, graduation, retirement, etc. to give someone a gift. Giving to others can be an act one can do all-year-long – just because.
     Giving to others should be just because you care; just because you want to; just because no person, no non-profit or no holiday told or asked you to.
     I personally enjoy giving. It’s fun. It’s rewarding. It makes me feel good to see the receiver happy and joyful for my gift or time. I only give when I can afford it, monetarily or with my time. Alternately, it makes me sad when someone doesn’t want to accept my gift – because there was “no reason” for it, or because they felt it was too expensive.
     I remember a time when a musician in our church, Victory Temple in Oakland, gave me his 12-string guitar – just because! He had several other guitars he played during worship service. There was no reason for the gift; he just wanted me to have it. I refused the gift, because I felt it was too extravagant and there was no reason for him to give me the guitar. It made him sad.
     Months later, he unexpectedly died. A young man too, I think in his late 40s. To this day, I regret I turned down his ‘just because’ gift to me. Of course, his death had nothing to do with my refusal to accept his gift, but I still remember how sad it made him feel when I declined.
     Giving, in my humble opinion, is a joy and satisfaction more for the giver than the receiver. To this day, I feel that I “stole” this man’s joy in giving me his guitar.
     So, I challenge you – and hopefully you like challenges like I do – to go out and buy a special gift (it doesn’t have to be expensive — could simply be a card) or offer your time and help with something and give it to someone with a little note that says, “Just because.”
     Not only will it brighten the recipient’s day, but it will also brighten yours even more. Don’t even think twice about it – do it today – just because!

Charleen Earley can be reached at

(Charleen Earley, Photographer)
One doesn’t need a birthday, holiday or special occasion to give others a gift or volunteer time, since it’s perfectly okay to give a gift “just because” throughout the year, on any random day.

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