My parents are the two most generous people I know. Which made me very comfortable taking, when I was younger. Although I think most young people are. I thank the example my parents set for helping me outgrow that phase and perspective in life.
One of my all-time favorite books is The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. I used to get so mad at the boy when I read it, because he just took and took. I wanted the tree to stop giving herself away and ask for something, instead of giving everything. Or say "no." Even though it frustrated me, I love that book. At different times in my life I have been the boy, and I have been the tree. I think you have it right when you strike a balance between the two.
I have a philosophy on wishes. I use my wishes. Birthday candles, shooting stars, 11:11 on the clock. But I believe that wishes will only come true if they are selfless. I know it's superstitious and silly, but I only make wishes for other people because of my belief about how wishes work. The first time I shared this philosophy with someone was a few years ago and he asked me, "What about the things you want for yourself?" I just shrugged and said "I guess if you're doing things right, someone else is using their wishes for you." I hadn't ever thought about that before, but my spontaneous response made sense to me.
The last time I was visiting my dad, the topic of wishes somehow came up. My dad said, "I have a philosophy about wishes." I laughed and told him I do too.
"Want to hear my philosophy?" Asked my dad. I did.
"Whenever I have a wish, like on a wishbone or something," my dad said, "I always wish that the other person's wish will come true."
Thanks Dad. For all the times you've been the tree.