Love and the Art of Give and Take

By on February 7, 2019

One day my 9-year-old was playing violin outside a small shopping plaza. She’s done this before and it’s common for people to watch for a while and then throw some money in her violin case. But this time, using her words “Daddy, a man who smelled like alcohol and didn’t look right gave me money.”

On her way home my daughter learned a little more about her new patron. She looked out the car window and there he was holding a sign “Homeless. Please Help.” Why would a homeless man give money to a little girl whose parents can afford violin lessons? He’s hungry, maybe desperate for drugs, no food on his table, no table, but he gave money to a 9 year old playing violin outside Starbucks. Why?

I think it’s because he wanted to be good, even if just for a moment. Taking feels good, but giving…when we give…we are good. And nothing feels better than being good. I think this homeless man needed relief from taking. He needed something money can’t buy—something that only comes from giving—dignity and goodness.

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My dear friend, Ephraim Goldberg, offered another insight, brilliant, I think. He said the homeless man gave money to my daughter because in his world that’s what you do, you give. A homeless man is given to all day long. A homeless man sees more giving in a day than most of us see in a month. Maybe being around giving influenced him to be a giver. There are a lot of inspiring stories about giving…stories of people giving to strangers, rich giving to the poor, a homeless man giving to a child, but you know where we need more giving? At home, between husband and wife. It’s relatively easy to give to colleagues, friends, even strangers. But the true test of one’s character is whether or not they’re a giver at home.

Tonight, give unconditionally to your husband, wife, or kids. Giving at home and being good will feel so much better than whatever you would otherwise be doing on your phone. And maybe your giving will influence others in your home to give too. Imagine a home filled with giving and goodness. Message me and let me know how it goes. 

Mort Fertel is the founder of the Marriage Fitness Program and the author of the e-report 7 Secrets to Fixing Your Marriage available as a free resource at


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Love and the Art of Give and Take