A female teaching colleague has been diagnosed with cancer. As support, it was suggested that meals that could be frozen be gifted; or money to allow a cleaner to come in, once or twice, to help with the home, be donated.
We Flamingo Dancers, have been touched by more than one medical emergency over the years, and I lived through cervical cancer, as well as an eye tumour, so I guess I experienced instant empathy. I donated money towards a cleaner.
What surprised me was Minerva’s attitude. ” She earns big money, why should I give her anything!” Yes, she does earn a higher pay scale as an experienced senior teacher, and she may have income protection, but as I know, to suddenly go from a double income to a single income family can be devastating, plus medical costs are another burden.
As to the cleaner, there is a husband and maybe the children are old enough to help out, but she needs emotional support and so do they. They are on a very exhausting journey with an unknown end; a little help, and it is “little”, is the least we can do. It is about all we can do, after all.
I think what shocked me most, is that it is an attitude that I would never have expected form Minerva, my erstwhile assistant, whom I would have tagged as “generous”, until now. Possibly, Minerva has more of an “us and them” attitude than I realised. To make a meal would cost less than $10, after all. People can be surprising, and always are when least expected!
To me, you give out to the world what you can and you often receive back. We are on a very tight budget as we are only a single income family these days, but I thought the $20 I gave; which let’s be honest will pay for about one hour of cleaning, was a tiny way of saying “we care” and more of a gift for me, than for our ill colleague.
I don’t believe in workplace gifts for birthdays or farewells. Have a morning tea, wish them well, but no crap clutter gifted please! Health issues are another matter.
Meals were donated to the family who lost their son to suicide and we received a very heartfelt letter of thanks from the Dad. In his words they were “blown away” by the caring, and the knowledge that we were there to support them, and their grieving sons for the long term.
Small things can mean a lot, and I repeat, often more of a gift for the giver than the receiver. I am sorry that Minerva hasn’t realised that, yet.