Many of you may have seen the movie “Pay It Forward” a story about a young boy who did three good deeds for others in need. In return, all that the child wanted was for them to pass on the good deed to three other people and keep the cycle going (Pay it forward [Motion picture on DVD], 2000). Now many would refute this argument by stating that “Pay it Forward” is simply a film; however, this concept could be brought to life. I remember reading an article while I was a Freshman at Pennsylvania State University. The article was by Paulina Firozi (2014), and it stated in the USA Today Network that “An act of kindness at a Starbucks drive-thru in Florida inspired an 11-hour chain of paying-it-forward.” One good deed might not seem like much, but if everyone did something good for someone else without asking for anything in return, then the cycle of generosity and kindness can help us to become better people. My life is another example of that.
When I was in the 7th grade, I had to face one of the hardest adversities in my life. My dad, raising three kids on his own, unfortunately, lost his job; as a result, my family and I were homeless for several months. Now before continuing, I just want to say that this experience was not “pain.” At the time it felt that way, but it showed me beautiful things about life. For example, that love is worth more than all the money in the world. When we had nothing, my dad gave us all his love and support. We lifted each other up and motivated each other to be better people. What made this experience hard was when students in my school found out about my adversity. We were young, and no one really understood what I was truly facing. So, I was the weirdo, the odd-girl-out. The one whose best friend was her guidance counselor. That was until I met wonderful people who did understand, and who didn’t let my economic status define me as a human being. Those people are my best friends today.
In summary, my life changed for the better when those people opened their arms and showed kindness. Another memory that I carry in my heart was when a young girl donated clothes and toys to my family and I. That was ultimately when I made a promise that I would “Pay it forward.” My experiences and giving back made me feel so much better about myself. It gave me hope and seeing someone else’s day brighten filled my heart. My family and I donate clothes and food supplies to shelters and private homes all around New Jersey. My dad inspires me each year as well when he runs the toy drive during Christmas.
Selflessness is the sincere concern for the well being of others. It’s about love. It’s about compassion. It’s about kindness and faith. It’s about making a difference in the world. Sure, you are only one, but you are one. You cannot do everything, but you can do something.
The following are examples of how to “Pay it Forward”: opening the door to a stranger, recycling, standing up for someone who needs a voice, sharing your umbrella with a stranger on a rainy day, and cleaning out all your old clothes and donating them to someone in need. Also, listening sympathetically to people’s stories, donating blood, volunteering at a hospital, homeless shelter, nursing home, and checking up on someone who looks lonely. Being optimistic is another great way to “Pay it Forward.” For instance, give words of encouragement to someone about their dreams, no matter how big or small they are. Become a mentor or a positive role model (Chernoff, A, n.d.).
In conclusion, a random act of kindness can truly enhance someone’s day and in return, they often want to pay it forward for another random, unsuspecting individual. It becomes a growing chain of people doing something kind for others. Even what seems like a small charitable act to you can be something so much more significant for another individual. I believe that often times these strangers are inspired and keep the chain going by performing a random act of kindness for someone else. The feeling of joy for both the giving and receiving ends is overwhelming and I believe it can make the world a happier and more generous place. My point to this is how would you like to live your life? Paying it Forward can inspire the lives of others around you. So when someone pays it Forward to you, I challenge you to pay it back for someone else. Make a difference in any way that you can. Let’s keep this moving along and as you do this don’t forget to ask someone to do the same for someone else.
Chernoff, A. (n.d.). 60 Selfless Ways to Pay It Forward. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/05/25/60-selfless-ways-to-pay-it-forward/
Firozi, P. (2014, August 21). 378 people ‘pay it forward’ at Fla. Starbucks. AP Online. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/08/21/378-people-pay-it-forward-at-fla-starbucks/14380109/
Pay it forward [Motion picture on DVD]. (2000). Warner Home Video.
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