In an earlier life I served on several charitable boards, and it seemed that a major part of this service was to ask other people for their money. I was terrible at this part of my service, and I really admired those who seemed to have a knack at it.
I think why I was so terrible at it, was I had a hard time telling other people what they should do with their money. As a lawyer I was trained to keep client’s confidences, and early on I learned too much about my clients — That appearances are not always what they seem.
Looking back on those who were very good at asking for other’s money I realized they had no trouble asking, but the really good ones also knew how to take no for an answer without embarrassing or humiliating the potential donor.
I think there is a larger lesson there. It has to do with respect for people’s circumstances and their humanity. None of us is completely what we seem. We all have concerns and problems we would rather not share. We ask that people respect our privacy, and we should respect theirs.
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