Here’s a tale of a particularly large-hearted Canadian couple. Allen and Violet Large made news a few days ago with their big lottery win of over $11 million. It wasn’t so much the colossal prize itself that drew attention, but the fact that they didn’t spend any of it on themselves. There will be no mansion, no fancy cars, no trips around the world for this couple, who are in their 70s and live in Lower Truro, Nova Scotia. Instead, they made generous cash gifts to a list of charities and family members.
Violet, who is recovering from cancer surgery and chemotherapy, told a reporter that the giveaways “really perked us up.” Her husband Allan said being able to help others felt just great.
Most of us, finding ourselves in the same situation, might not make quite the same choice as this low-key couple (I could certainly do without the mansion and the fancy cars, but it would be awfully hard to say no to that ’round-the-world vacation). But before you allow the Larges’ generous actions to shame you, it’s worth remembering that most of us are donating at least some of our riches to charity. Eighty-four percent of us give money every year, according to the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating.
And if you listen to what sociologists have to say, we’re probably doing it for much the same reasons as Allen and Violet Large. It perks us up. It feels just great.
We all want to make a difference. Whether we give away 11 million dollars to a long list of worthy organizations, or whether we support the girl guide next door by shelling out a few bucks for cookies, it’s a gratifying feeling to know you’ve helped someone.