Underindulgence, happiness and the joy of sponsorship

By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent

Surendhar, CFCA sponsored child in India, with family goat

Surendhar, a child sponsored through CFCA in India, helps his family raise goats for a living.

We’ve been saying for a long time that what you get from sponsorship might even be greater than what you give.

It seems these New York Times writers agree with us, based on their recent article, “Don’t Indulge. Be Happy.” The article is a fascinating read about what makes us truly happy.

A few quotes:

“But research shows that underindulgence ó indulging a little less than you usually do ó holds one key to getting more happiness for your money.”

“But another scientifically validated means of increasing the happiness you get from your money is even more radical: not using it on yourself at all.”

“When we follow up with people who receive cash from us, those whom we told to spend on others report greater happiness than those told to spend on themselves. And in countries from Canada to India to South Africa, we find that people are happier when they spend money on others rather than on themselves.”

We know that the sponsorship commitment can mean stretching, and sometimes can even mean that we deny ourselves favorite indulgences in order to afford our monthly contribution.

Just ask George and Diane Moll, who gave up their daily latte run in order to sponsor one more friend in the Philippines.

But we also know that the rewards always outweigh the cost.

That’s why sponsors who go on CFCA awareness trips so often sponsor another child while on their trip, or immediately after.

Not because they’re coerced into it ó far from it. It’s because they see the change their sponsorship is making possible ó they hug the child their gift sends to school, they walk through new homes boasting a sturdy roof, they see a mother’s proud smile and hear a family’s laughter.

The experience is what can only be described as deep, overwhelming joy. That’s the joy of giving, on display to its fullest extent.

And just like the article said, sometimes it really is better to give than to receive.

“Rather than focusing on how much we’ve got in our bowl, we should think more carefully about what we do with what we’ve got ó which might mean indulging less, and may even mean giving others the opportunity to indulge instead.”

Sounds like sponsorship to me.

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