Giving is like any language: when you are fluent in it, you speak it unconsciously. You do not need to be prompted. But if you are totally unfamiliar with it, it becomes a huge challenge, in not an impossibility, to speak the language of giving.

Like all language acquisition, we learn giving from home in our childhood. If it is not the language your parents speak, you will struggle with it. You will not know how to give freely. Not out of lack of love do you not give, but due to lack of fluency.

If a parent does not give without grumbling or resentment, then the child grow into an adult for which giving is an effort. I don’t think any parent ever sets out to withhold giving, but lack of conscious thinking, lack of awareness and lack of time contribute to this.

When I was growing up, my father was seldom home and whenever he was home, there were always many things that demanded his time. I would never ask him to drive me to Petersfield, for example, but I had, on many occasions, roused my Ma from her bed to pick me up from the pub on Hayling Island whenever I missed the last ferry.

And my Ma always did it with a smile, even if she had to get out of bed, and drove for 20 minutes to pick me up. Not once did she ever say, “Next time, be more aware of the time. Don’t miss the last ferry.”

One summer, when I was at Havant College, I went drinking with my school friends. We missed the last ferry.  They thought they would have so much aggravation from their parents that it was not worth it.  I knew it would be an imposition to expect my Ma to drive them back to their homes. So we all decided to swim across the narrow channel. It was summer months and the nights were warm.

I got to the other side and took the night bus home.

The next day, a grim-faced principal announced that two students had drowned last night.

Why am I writing this? Because Georgina’s father and I are about to set out for the 1 hour round trip to pick her up from her boyfriend’s house.  Reason: her father does not trust the driver at night on the winding hilly roads. And the thing is, he does it with a smile on his face, always. No grumbling. Just as when he gave a large chunk of his hard-earned pension to his son to buy a house or spending Saturdays waiting around for his youngest child instead of getting on and doing his own thing.

Is giving a language you are fluent in? What about your children?

(Note: As for me, I am Work-In-Progress. I speak it to an extent and if people do not respond in the same language, I shut up and dissociate after a while, and move on to a tribe that speaks the same language as I. Because imagine living amongst people with no linguistic commonality. At some stage the brain gets tired of one-sided conversation).

Phuket roads