What if I told you that you could give a homeless man one hundred dollars without posting about it on Facebook? What if I told you could help the disabled, feed the hungry, or clothe the needy all without posting it on social media?
Does the good deed really matter if it wasn’t plastered on social media? If my spontaneous act of generosity isn’t posted to Facebook, does it really count?
Spoiler alert: Yes, it does.
From churches broadcasting their generous donations, to people taking selfies with the homeless people they serve, it seems that every good deed must be documented.
Something about this rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I’m cynical, but I see these posts often and they all sound the same. Someone encounters an unfortunate situation, that person does a nice thing, and then that person
boasts tells about it on social media in order to let everyone know thank the person in some way or motivate or inspire others.
Sometimes the posts are disguised like this:
Here’s a picture of me giving money and food to the homeless. Thanks for showing me what the meaning of life is all about, guys.
Tonight I helped an old woman load her groceries after working in the soup kitchen all day. I’m so grateful for experiences like these.
People post things online for different reasons. Some are seeking attention and validation, maybe even unintentionally. Others are simply sharing about their day in a way that makes sense in the 21st century. Hey, I get it — we’re living in the digital age! Of course, we’re proud of the things we accomplish and the way we get by. Maybe sometimes we subconsciously boost our ego by posting really great things on our Facebook pages. Look at my cute kids, my DIY house renovation, my before-and-after fitness photos, how witty I am, how fantastic my makeup looks today. How great I feel.
The problem is that we step into a different kind of territory when showing off our good deeds. There’s an undeniable honesty and integrity to practicing humble kindness.
I’ll leave you with this: A few months ago, a teacher I know took a homeless student into her home (in case you were wondering, this teacher was not me). She supplied clean clothes and a hot meal, but most importantly, she took the child into her home when she already had kids of her own and plenty of other responsibilities. She made sure the child was safe the following week and did all she could to help the family find housing. She took carloads of clothing and supplies to the family. She did something incredibly selfless and bold — something that would surely have gone viral in minutes. And yet, instead of using her phone to make posts about it, she used it to call and check on the family. I think we can all learn something from this. I know I did.