The old saying, "It is better to give than receive," is never better illustrated than during the holiday season when gift giving is at its peak. But, how often does the purpose of giving get lost in the rush of shopping and deadlines?
It's easy to forget that there are many ways to give that don't have to rely on a purchase. Just showing someone that they are appreciated can be the most memorable gift of the season. In many ways, it is the gift that keeps on giving. Being appreciated can make a person feel fabulous and in fact can motivate someone to pay it forward. In a time when discourse seems to permeate so many areas of our lives, a small note of appreciation can stand out even more.
At Bigelow Tea, where the company mission is to enrich life's everyday moments, the culture is to remember all who make our lives so much better and show them appreciation. "We try to pay attention all year long, not just during the holidays. The purpose of our company is to create an environment of pride that brings out everyone's desire and ability to make a positive difference every day," says Cindi Bigelow, CEO and third-generation family member.
Bigelow Tea was started by Ruth Campbell Bigelow after the Depression hit. Perhaps it was her brush with the hard times of the Depression that heightened her compassion for others, but her generous spirit built appreciation into the formula for the company's future. In 1963, she adopted a school in Kentucky, where she sent truckloads of books, coats and shoes. She would even buy glasses for kids who needed them so they could read.
Today, Bigelow continues to carry on that tradition with the company's support of the USO and veteran's programs like Ride 2 Recovery, Tea for the Troops and the annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge, which has contributed $1.5 million back into the community.
There are many simple ways to give back all year long — whether as a parent, a sibling, a corporate executive or a partner. Some of the insights Cindi has learned as a parent and the third-generation business leader include:
* A "good" education should make sure it's teaching young people about values like kindness, niceness and compassion — things that our parents and grandparents practiced so naturally, but are often overlooked today.
* Her father's simple philosophy, as relevant today as yesterday, is to be an inspiration, be honest, be fair, be concerned about others and remember that success has many different definitions.
* It's important to take the extra time for two-way communication. Listening (maybe over a cup of tea) to what others have to say is a good way to make people feel valued and appreciated.
* Always remember that you are a role model that sets the standards for life all around you. What you do, how you act, good times and bad, behind closed doors, in front of other people, sets the tone and inspires others.
To learn more about Bigelow Tea and its corporate responsibility programs, go to bigelowtea.com/responsibility.