The Buddha is Here!
Oh glory days, the Buddha arrived. Not the actual Buddha (although if he were to check out of Nirvana I'm sure my house would be his first stop) but the Buddha Michael bought in China. A fat stone Buddha sitting on a huge pile of coins. It goes near the front door of the house and is supposed to ensure fabulous riches. That's what I love about traditional Chinese culture. We're all greedy and covet wealth, but they don't try to pretend otherwise.
Speaking of wealth and greed, I sit on the board of three different charitable organizations, and I have to say what blows my mind is how little most people give to charity. There are individuals who seem to genuinely enjoy donating to things they care about, and then there are those who just don't want to part with a nickel. I've often found that the wealthier the person, they less inclined they are to donate. Someone for whom I know 100 dollars presents a huge portion of their disposable cash will gladly and proudly donate it, and another person who wouldn't even notice if they misplaced ten thousand holds onto it with his teeth. I wish I could explain to them that donation is the supremely selfish gesture. It makes you feel good. It makes you feel needed, even powerful. With the simple scrawling of your name on a check, you can become a superstar to someone, or some organization. I always know my mania is in full swing when I start writing those big checks. It's a tremendously fun thing to do.
My kids get two allowances every week, one for their greedy little selves, and one for their tzedaka boxes (their fund for charity). Every Hanukkah they get to decide what to give money to. This year Sophie and Zeke made a $101.81 donation to the World Wildlife Fund. They're so impressed with themselves that if their gesture doesn't result in a dramatic increase in the worldwide panda population, they are going to be pretty stunned. They also made a lunch for a "poor person." (Look, I don't censor the wording on their 8-point Hanukah good deed list.) They packed a bunch of sandwiches, milk, cookies, a chocolate pudding, two apples, a bottle of water and a spoon and we gave it to the guy who sells the Street Spirit outside our market. I put a couple of bucks in the bag, too, so he wouldn't be disappointed. Now they've got to do their Toys for Tots delivery, and somehow I've got to browbeat some elderly shut-in into letting them clean up her yard.