Practicing generosity is a core value Mark and I have long held in our home and encouraged in our children. There are many small daily ways we encourage generosity with others–making eye contact or pausing to listen, sharing a favorite belonging or place in our home, helping someone else with their chores, or honoring one another with words. As a family, we have regular opportunities to practice all of the above, but there’s something special about a generous act done in secret or for a complete stranger.
I recently learned of Frost Bank’s effort to positively impact communities with small acts of generosity through their Frost it Forward campaign, and I was thrilled to partner with them since it hits so close to home. There were years when Mark and I faced very stressful financial circumstances, months when we needed government assistance or when we skipped Christmas gifts for our children. During those times, the smallest generosities of others meant so much–surprise groceries from a friend, free babysitting, schoolbooks for the children, cash in an envelope, or a coffee gift card on the porch. Those acts reminded us we were seen and gave us hope to keep working toward our financial goals. These years of working hard while raising a family have made us so grateful for the littlest things and more mindful, too, and as often as possible, we practice generosity with our finances as well.
As advocates of holistic financial well-being, Frost Bank has studied the way optimism can impact a person’s mindset about finances. Based on their Opt for Optimism research, they discovered 87% of Americans have experienced financial setbacks and more than half of Americans feel they are just getting by financially. In contrast, they have also learned that optimists are seven times more likely to experience better financial health. They suffer half of the financial setbacks as pessimists and often feel inspired to take meaningful steps toward improvement. Isn’t that incredible? A person’s attitude about the future of their financial landscape matters!
But how do we know who is suffering financially or feeling overwhelming financial stress? We don’t always. A better rule of thumb is simply to be generous whenever possible. During the last few weeks, we have been enjoying spreading cheer with our Frost it Forward gift card by covering coffee orders for strangers behind us in line or bringing a few groceries to someone who needed it this season. Although these gifts have been small, they have reminded people within our community that they are seen and helped infuse a little optimism at the start of their year.
For those curious about the deeper impact of optimism, visit the Opt For Optimism website to learn more about Frost Bank’s mission to spread optimism and generosity and to find ways that you can get involved.