Give & Take

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk




Reciprocity is essential in all human relationships.  People who are generous expect at least a thank you from the receiver of their deed.  A word of praise helps much to satisfy the giver.  Some folks enjoy receiving but do not have the decency to praise the individual who shares.  There is an excellent bit of Yiddish doggerel for the "Chapper," the taker who likes to receive but who does not give, nor reciprocate even with words showing appreciation to the generous person who shares:  "Schoen ist das Zigeunerleben, forioh, sie wollen nur nemmen und gornischt geben, forioh, sie wollen nur nemmen und gornischt mehr, essen und trinken ist gornischt schwer, forioh" (Beautiful is the gypsy life, they want to only get and never give).  Such people are not very popular for very long, but they do exist!  This happens in all walks of life in many groups, situations, relationships, so called friendships, and more.

There are such schnorrers (beggars) who will diminish the giver and criticize his or her gift without any guilt or ill feeling regarding their own actions and behaviors.

There are adult children who give nothing to their generous parents.  They take whatever they can get from their parents, regardless of how much such parents earn or have or to what degree the parents have refrained from spending on themselves in order to satisfy their children's or grandchildren's wishes.  They express little gratitude and become critical when all of their many desires are not instantly fulfilled.  They are narcissists who care only for their pleasures, their needs, and themselves.  When the parents or other relatives have given all they could possibly give, they reject and ignore them without the least iota of guilt.  They sometimes go so far as to minimize and denounce them, regardless of the authenticity of the complaints.

Before you believe whatever someone accuses, be careful and do not judge the accused, the relative or acquaintance being verbally condemned.  Consider instead the character of the condemner, the judge, the accuser.  Be on the side of the victim who is not present to defend him or herself.  Embarrassing or diminishing an innocent human being is one of the greatest of "neveres" (sins).


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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