In 2000 there was a movie called “Pay It Forward,” which was about a young boy’s school project: to think of something that would change the world, and then put it into action. The phrase, “pay it forward” has now become part of our language, and a movement of caring that has spread throughout the world. The term is used to describe random acts of kindness, done with no thought of receiving anything personal in return. The hope is that the receiver will pay it forward by doing something kind for someone else, who then extends the kindness to another, and on and on.
This whole idea hit very close to home the other day. I received an email from my daughter-in-law, telling me about a wonderful experience she had the day before at Starbucks. She was out with her three young children, ready to go visit a friend. She pulled into the drive-thru, placed her order, and drove forward to the pick-up window. She had her wallet out, ready to pay for her drink, and then was told that someone in the car in front of her had already paid. Needless to say, she was very surprised! She had no way to thank the person who had been so kind, but she decided to extend the kindness to the people in the car behind her. She was paying it forward!
My daughter-in-law was so excited and touched by what happened!. She shared the story with me and several of her friends. Now I’m sharing it with all of you. There’s no way of knowing if the person behind her paid it forward, and it really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that many, many people are spreading kindness in all sorts of ways, all over the world!
Think about the lessons that our children are learning about generosity of spirit. Two of my grandchildren are still babies, and have no idea what happened at Starbucks that day, but their sister is six. She’s old enough to know that someone was kind, and expected nothing in return — not even a “thank you!” She’s old enough to extend kindness to others — maybe at her church, maybe when she’s out with her parents at a park, maybe when there’s a toy drive at the holidays. It doesn’t matter when or how. The important thing is that this experience has made an impression on her.
We each have the ability to change the world, by reaching out to each other with loving kindness. What can you do to pay it forward?
Who knows how many lives are touched when someone decides to do just that. There are so many ways to share kindness and caring. Let’s get creative and help spread this movement! Imagine how much happier, healthier, and more peaceful our world would be if we all paid it forward!
Until next time,