Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward by Kellie Boyle

  • One of my all-time favorite books turned into movie is Pay It Forward. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a young boy who is given a school assignment to come up with a plan of how to change the world. The young boy comes up with an action plan and calls it “pay it forward”. Sounds like a complicated task for an 11-year old, but it appeared that his idea had very little complexity at all. The idea was to do a good deed unasked for 3 strangers and in return ask the strangers to pay it forward to three folks they run across. Then those strangers are told the same thing, and so on and so on, so the notion spreads. I love it because the message is so simple. Doing a good deed is something anyone on this planet can do, you don’t have to have much creativity at all.Sharing kindness can have the same rapid effect that sharing rudeness and anger has. It’s like a domino effect. If it’s so easy to be angry can’t it also be so easy to be kind? If you are having trouble with the concept, think about a time a stranger or friend or family member did something for you- out of the blue, unexpected, or out of the ordinary. In a previous job, I worked at an office with the most pleasant and cheerful Receptionist. I would be going through a very stressful day, and the attitude that this receptionist exhibited- either through a nice email or phone call would literally change my mood for the rest of the day. Her cheerfulness and joy made me stop and think about how genuinely she comes across to everyone that calls in the office or greets her at her desk. It made me feel silly for all the reasons I was upset about whatever was causing me strife that day.Can you remember a time someone had that effect on you? Chances are you felt appreciated and it made you feel good about yourself. Well guess what, you can also feel good about yourself by having that same effect on others. You should try it! And I’ll even give you some ideas. Here are a list of pay it forward activities you can participate in. Remember folks, this is out of thoughtfulness and awareness. You don’t have to have lots of money or time, but you do have to have a heart. Let’s keep the task simple and light. Now more than ever, is a time where we can practice to pay it forward. There is nothing bad that can come out of this, only good.
  • Bake cookies for a neighbor who happens to put up with your dog barking throughout the night.
  • Keep a box of granola bars in your car and hand out to homeless people as you see them at intersections.
  • When you’re at the checkout line, look up from your phone, notice something about the person in front of you and give them a compliment.
  • Send a nice thank you note to school with your child to give to a teacher who has helped him throughout the year.
  • Volunteer a few hours at a local soup kitchen.
  • Sit next to and have lunch with that elderly man who is always at McDonalds having breakfast by himself.
  • Make an extra stop on the way to work to buy your secretary her favorite coffee.
  • Give someone walking through the rain your umbrella.
  • Pull over on the side of the road next time you see someone stranded to see how you can help.
  • Smile at a stranger and tell them you hope they have a wonderful day.

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