I attended many English schools during my childhood. This was due to being evacuated to various places away from the bombing in London during World War II.
When leaving a school, it was the custom to ask teachers to write something in an autograph book. They mostly wrote pleasant remarks with good wishes for success in the future. I still have the autograph book today and occasionally read through it with fond memories.
There is one entry however, that has had a profound effect on me throughout my life, although I thought it was a most stupid thing to write at the time. It was written by a female teacher who was not very popular with the boys. She was more often than not, ridiculed behind her back, as she was the only female amongst all male students and teachers and therefore heavily outnumbered.
In those distant days when evacuees were away from home and their families for long periods, they were often entertained at special childrens' parties and other activities. These events were organised by the local Womens' Voluntary Services in various towns and villages and these ladies freely gave their time and talents in order to bring some cheer to the evacuees. I particularly remember how those ladies really enjoyed giving toys and small gifts at these parties and more than once, I noticed tears of joy in their eyes. Although I couldn't understand it at the time, it seemed to me that, in giving, they were enjoying themselves almost more than the children who were receiving.
Many years later, when the war was over and most things were back to normal, I started to realize that I too, had a warm feeling inside, whenever I gave something to somebody. The pleasure I received got stronger on each occasion, whether it was after giving a Christmas, birthday present or a simple parting gift.
Now that I am once again by myself and sometimes feel lonely, depressed and sad, I have found a surefire way to raise my spirits. I simply give someone a small gift that I think they would like to have, very often for no reason at all. The result is incredible, I never feel so good as when I surprise someone in this way. Try it for yourself, I guarantee you'll find there is nothing in this world more uplifting than than giving someone else a little happiness in this way!
By the way, the "stupid" remarks entered in my autograph book by that school teacher, all those years ago, read as follows,
"There is no joy in taking or receiving, but only in giving." I now realize, that this lady was perhaps, the wisest woman I ever met.