We can’t give anyone joy or security by increasing her bank account or adding to his collection of vintage wines. Of course, a well-chosen gift given at the right time is always welcome, but whatever the gift, we should guard against the nagging expectation of getting something in return. The moment we expect reward or recognition, we are making a contract.
Even parents and children suffer from this contractual relationship. Parents can help their children tremendously by avoiding the “I did this for you, therefore you do that for me” approach, encouraging them instead to follow their own star.
In the spiritual lore of India, it is said that God whispered only one word in our ears when he sent us into the world: “Give.” Give freely of your time, your talent, your resources; give without asking for anything in return. This is the secret of living in joy and security. – Eknath Easwaran, Thought for the Day