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December 2014 Publisher Letter

On Veterans Day, as the nation honored the service of our patriots, my 10-year-old son, Yonatan, arrived home from school to announce that he wants to join the Army. I stared dumbfounded at my gentle son, who has cried over an injured spider and who found low-key martial arts too violent for his taste. Holding back a torrent of exclamations and comments, I expressed interest and asked him the reason for this sudden desire.

He said he was inspired by a school teacher that had shared about her experiences in the Marine Corps, and that he really wants to contribute to the world and do something for others. He felt strongly that this is the right thing for him and expressed himself so passionately that I could feel the sense of honor emanating from his heart.

I am proud to know that I am raising a young man of honor and integrity who desires to contribute and help others. These core values will stay with him throughout his whole life. Eight years from now, he may find other ways to serve that equally speak to his heart, but whichever path he chooses, I believe it will be a path of activism.

Our conversation has me thinking again about the motivation for giving. Are we innately moved to be authentic and altruistic, or do we expect to get something in return, such as recognition, dependency or proof that we are loved? I’m assessing the motivations behind my own behavior, which tends to be a pattern of over-giving, focusing mostly on the needs and desires of others while often neglecting my own. Good works are often achieved through self-sacrifice, but to be pure and joyful, they must be given freely, and not driven by an internal agenda. When our core needs are met and we feel nurtured, we are able to show up as our best selves, ready to contribute generously to others and the greater good.

As we enter this season of giving, it helps to remember that the greatest gift we can give the world starts with loving and honoring ourselves.

Let’s spread the light!

Gabriella Buchnik Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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