All of us, if we are honest, believe it is important to show others kindness. The common term is “random acts of kindness."
But why must have acts of kindness be random, unexpected or spontaneous? In the movie that bears its name, Pay It Forward is not something that happened accidentally but something that happens deliberately.
It is the result of a conscious decision to step in and give someone help when they need it.
We live in a culture that tells us were responsible for the difficult circumstances of others who are five thousand miles away.
And yet we are blind to the needs in our neighbourhood. Paying it Forward calls us to accommodate the people right in front of us. It calls us to think about the needs of the person we can see - right here, right now.
Mother of five, Nicole, from Newcastle Australia and involved with the Samaritan Foundation Brighter Futures program decided to pay it forward by gathering up all the old school bags she can find and passing the money to needy families with young children in school.
“I’ve received a lot of help through Samaritans, and this is a way for me to give a little bit back,” she said.
The brighter futures program is aimed at providing healthy child development through a number of child, home and parenting programs.
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Not only is this a simple but much-appreciated idea, it also teaches the kids what it means to pay it forward.
Rebecca over at Kids Activities Blog said that in an effort to teach the kids in her company how to pay it forward they developed the Pay It Forward Jar.
Each week the kids would drop something into the jar, and once it was full, they had begun to look for ways they could support the needy person with the money they had raised.
As adults, there are many ways we can pay it forward. We have increasing opportunity to show kindness to others as we grow because we generally have more resources.
But we should not think that a child, limited though they are, cannot share in this wonderful pastimes. Sharing is good to do at any age. In paying it forward as adults, we train ourselves to be deliberately kind but we are also, by our actions, training the children around us to adopt the same attitude.
Parents, in particular, have the responsibility to instill in those kinds of values that put other people before themselves.
What are some of the ways for a parent or a teacher to take the lead in paying it forward?
To begin with, paying it forward does not have to include big gestures and Grand Parades. It is not the amount of giving but the moment of giving that matters.
It is not so much the size of the occasion or even the size of the need but your willingness to show kindness and generosity to someone else.
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