Adam Ruins Giving

If you are paying to receive cable TV channels, you may be getting TruTV as part of your subscription. If that’s true (no pun intended), you may already know about the phenomenon known as “Adam Ruins Everything,” where host Adam Conover takes on many sacred cows and long-held beliefs that he and his experts say are just plain wrong. This show reminds me of my history classes in college, where the professor spent many sessions providing the real facts behind major events, not the ones told to us in elementary school.

In this particular episode, “Adam Ruins Everything – Giving,” Adam starts out by exposing the origin of the tradition of giving diamond rings as an engagement gift. What started out as a marketing push by DeBeers Diamonds has, as we all know, turned into a must-do for all couples getting engaged.

The portion of this episode that got me thinking about historical societies is when he visited a school fundraising event that centered on collecting tangible goods such as cans and clothing. There were scores of volunteers there, accumulating and sorting all these items that were going to go to food kitchens and other distributors of the good, who, as it turns out, would prefer not to have to deal with those products for lots of reasons. Instead, Adam states that it’s really money, given directly, that will do the most good.

I’m on board with that thinking. Enough money means that you can take care of what needs to be done, and you might even be able to accomplish your goals using paid staffers. Wouldn’t that be great? But there’s something about the human spirit that compels us to want to do good works, and volunteering for a cause should not be left out of the story. This aspect of giving was not really touched upon during this short segment of the show. Ask anyone who volunteers and they will tell you that they do it for selfish reasons. Whatever the cause, it becomes more personal when you have your time and energy invested, not just your money. But in credit to Adam’s point of view, what most charities need is not more stuff. They need money. And, in many cases, new and younger volunteers.

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