Faith and Publi Policy: Developing Thoughts on Reciprocity

Reciprocity is the idea of paying someone back for what they have given you. I see that in our modern world, reciprocity is a good thing.

I am trying to develop a thought that reciprocity is not good.

Christmas is bringing this idea more and more into my mind. In buying gifts for family members, we often find the only reason for buying the gift is not because “I want to give them this out of the goodness of my heart” or “I know they will really like this gift” but rather “they are going to get something for us, so we better get something for them.” I acknowledge my bias, but I find no merit in this process.

There are many ways to think about this thought, but I’d like to start with this question: what would I teach my children? I would tell them that if someone gives them a gift, they should say thank you, and they do not need to give a gift in return, nor should they feel any burden to do so. If they wish to give someone a gift (for example, if they find a gift that they feel fits someone perfectly), they should give it and expect nothing in return. In our world, I think I should also teach them that to be safe, they should tell the person they are gifting that they want nothing in return.

At first, this might seem a bit strange. They might even upset some. But, I also think this will develop a healthy habit of joyous giving.

Please, please, please leave your comments – I need to have some discussions on this topic.

More to come.

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