The first time I heard about Pay it Forward I was listening to the Michael Baisden Show on the radio like I do every weekday from 2pm - 6pm. Last year every Wednesday Michael Baisden and George Willborn would have people call into the show, give a story about how they would like them to help Pay it Forward. Every single week they had people calling in about how they needed bills paid or how someone they knew needed help with something. However, they rarely paid it forward because everyone was calling in regarding selfish acts. I because curious about the movie that he kept discussing and every time it came on HBO or Cinemax I would be in bed. That is until one day just around the holidays the show was on during a time I was working from home, so I took the time to watch it. Let me just say if you haven't seen the movie, you must. By the end I was in complete tears and emotional to the point that my 4 year old came and gave me hug saying, "Mommy it's ok."
See the book and the movie are about a 12 year old boy named Trevor who is given an assignment by his social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment he gives them is to think of something that they can do that will change the world and to put this idea into action. Trevor comes up with the idea of helping three people close to him and they each in turn "pay it forward" by helping three people, and so forth without expecting anything in return for their act of kindness. Thus this is what "Pay it Forward" is all about and why I must be honest and say I intend to participate in it.
Truthfully, I think that we spend too much time worried about what others can do for us or pissed because we never get a "pay back" for the good things that we have done for someone. We really don't realize how our helping someone with the smallest of things can make a monumental impact. Yes there are those who we believe might not deserve our kindness for whatever reasons there may be. Yes many of us have bills to pay or wish we could get extra help for someone we care about to make the burden on ourselves easier. However, pay it forward isn't about how you can help yourself. It's about helping others so that they can help someone else. Doing this I promise helps yourself.
A great example of how someone could pay it forward let me take you back to the Michael Baisden Show. There was a little boy named Zach McGuire in Ohio who Michael found out was selling his toys so that he could help his family pay bills. His father was unemployed and have a hard time finding work. Well, Michael Baisden heard this story, called the young man, and on national radio asked companies to contact this young mans father to help him get a job. I believe it was within a week, no more than two, his father had a job. Again, I was so emotional hearing the father as he cried with joy over the radio. Here was a little boy about 9 years old willing to give up his toys just so that his family keep the things they have. He didn't ask for anything at all in return. That act of kindness led to Michael Baisden helping his father get a job so that he could once again provide for his family.
So, How is this done? Well, first you need to know this is done. You are to do between one and three good deeds on this day for others in need without asking for anything in return. Instead you are to instruct them to "pay it forward" to someone else in need.
What can you actually do? Well, here are just a few ideas. However, I think that you are all creative and come up with an idea or two of your own.
If you have something nice to say, say it.
At a drive-thru, pay for the order of the car behind you.
Anonymously send flowers to a family member or friend.
Leave a large tip on a small bill
On a busy subway or bus, stand, so that someone else can sit.
Make a donation. Most people have things they no longer use or need, give it away to a local charity.
Here are link for you to find out more information on Pay it Forward Day or to help you with ideas on how to pay it forward. Good Luck and I hope everyone will participate!!!!
- WikiHow: How to Pay It Forward
- Random Acts of Kindness: Teaching your children how to pay it forward
- Pay it Forward Foundation
- Pay It Forward Day
- Michael Baisden's One Million Mentors
Pay it Forward Day is
Thursday, April 29, 2010