I Wish My Mother Had Taken Mackenzie Scott’s Advice
Issue 215 — December 19, 2022
My mother’s Wedgewood Bone china and Tiffany crystal wine, water, and cordial glasses glisten in the hutch I bought, where they could be not just stored but seen.
Mother had kept them packed away for many years. Why? Because she was “saving them for nice,” as she put it.
The beautiful pieces, meant to be used for humans’ dining and drinking, were always wrapped in soft cloth in a closet or closed up in her capacious mahogany buffet, like precious jewels in a safe. She carefully took them from home to home across multiple cities and states over decades. When my father’s business went bankrupt, she took the tableware to my sister to store so they couldn’t be taken away if the IRS came looking for an asset, which they never did.
Mother was that determined to keep her beloved china and crystal, and to save them for nice. But when she died in 1998, “nice” had never come. It makes me sad to think she didn’t enjoy the pure pleasure of using her elegant dishes and glasses.
Why am I telling you this? Because I was so impressed with something I read, written by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, about her newly released website and her thoughts about philanthropy in general. Here’s the whole piece for context:
Here’s the quote within the quote that I ask you to pay special attention to, and that I wish my mother had heard and heeded:
“The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better…Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
And I am asking you in that spirit to give freely and abundantly now to Take The Lead’s end of year Giving Season campaign. We must raise $100,000, so we can provide our proven life-changing training programs and many free content resources to enable women to advance to the leadership positions, pay, and power that will finally give us true equality, for everyone’s good and a healthier, more just and more prosperous society.
One of the Leadership Intentioning Tools in my book Intentioning is “Believe in the infinite pie.” The more there is, the more there is. I believe that because I have seen it in action so many times. Your generous gift now will multiply its impact many times over. As Mackenzie Scott says of philanthropy, whether small as most of us are able to do or large scale as she is blessed to give, “These immediate results are only the beginning. Their value keeps multiplying and spreading in ways we may never know.”
Not saving things for nice has become a guiding principle for me.
So what happened to my mother’s dishes?
My sister didn’t want them, never even unpacked them. Frankly, I didn’t want them either. The pastel floral china pattern is formal, old fashioned, and delicate, and the stemmed crystal is easily breakable. I lean toward contemporary and practical. But I took them out of love and sentimentality, and vowed never to “save them for nice.” I intentionally use them often when I have guests, and the multiplier effect is in the way people express joy at the beautiful table.
Someday I will give them to a charity that can sell them to fund good works or pass them along to someone who needs them so that they will be of value until they are completely used up.
Thank you for supporting Take The Lead by reading my articles and contributing in whatever ways and amounts work for you. That link again is here, where you can also start your own fundraiser to multiply your impact.
GLORIA FELDT is the Cofounder and President of Take The Lead, a motivational speaker and expert women’s leadership developer for companies that want to build gender balance, and a bestselling author of five books, most recently Intentioning: Sex, Power, Pandemics, and How Women Will Take The Lead for (Everyone’s) Good. Honored as Forbes 50 Over 50 2022, and Former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she is a frequent media commentator. Learn more at www.gloriafeldt.com and www.taketheleadwomen.com. Tweet Gloria Feldt.