Random Acts Of Kindness
The following passage is from the book, Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli.
In the passage the two main characters discusse why people give gifts, do good things, or acts of goodness, or random acts of kindness.
Read the passage and think about the two different points of view about gift giving.
One day she bought a small plant, an African violet in a plastic pot on sale for ninety-nine cents at a drugstore.
“Who’s it for?” I asked her.
“I’m not exactly sure,” she said. “I just know that someone at an address on Marion Drive is in the hospital for surgery, so I though whoever’s back home could use a little cheering up.”
… We went to the house on Marion Drive… She tied the violet ribbon around the pot. I held her bike while she set the plant by the front door.
Riding away, I said, “Why don’t you leave a card or something with your name on it?”
The question surprised her. “Why should I?”
Her question surprised me. “Well, I don’t know, it’s just the way people do things. They expect it. They get a gift, they expect to know where it came from.”
“Is that important?”
“Yeah, I guess-“
… Getting credit…
“What about it?”
Well, it’s nice to get credit.”The spokes of her rear wheel spun behind the curtain of her long skirt. She looked like a photograph from a hundred years ago. She turned her wide eyes on me. “Is it?” she said.
Hopefully the passage initiates thoughts, questions, and discussion.
Discuss your questions or some of these questions.
- Leo's arguement goes from people expect to know, to it's the way things are, to getting credit. In your mind why would or wouldn't any of these be valid reasons?
- Why are gifts given?
- Why are they given with people's names attached?
- How is giving a gift extrinsically or intrinsically motivating?
- How might it be related to praise?
- When would you most likely give a gift, without credit, and not know how it is received?