April 30th is International Pay It Forward Day.
Do you remember the book titled: Pay It Forward by Katherine Ryan Hyde? It sparked a movie staring Kevin Spacy and Helen Hunt as well as a global thought process/movement surrounding human kindness and good deeds.
The premise of the book is about a twelve year old boy who comes up with a plan to change the world for the better. His idea is simple yet powerful. Chose three people to perform a nice deed for. When the three people ask what can I do to repay you? Tell them there is no need to pay you back, just pay the favor forward by choosing three people for whom they can perform a good deed for and in turn telling those people to pay it forward to three more people, in essence to start a human chain of kindness and goodwill.
It’s day’s like April 30th every year that reminds us of the importance of the need to have more human kindness and compassion in the world. We don’t always think about how a small act of kindness can cause a ripple effect, even a tsunami. Think of the book (or the movie)….a man gave his sports car away to someone in need because he was paying it forward. What a world it would be if we took care of each other to this level of human need! There could be an end to the lack of loneliness and human connection in the world. Wow..WOW!
So here’s what I’m wondering……what holds us back from being more kind? Why don’t we smile at strangers more often? Open or hold a door open for others? Let people merge into our lane? Provide an offer of help when someone is struggling?
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
What if we could let go of wanting to know if our specific act of kindness and/or good deed actually made an effect on the recipient? I remember in the book, Trevor felt his good deeds didn’t actually do any good. Do we really need the affirmation every time we go out of our way to be kind? If we do…I wonder…if it may not be kindness we are practicing.
I had an experience with a former boss a year ago….He found a $20 bill with a post-it-note attached in the parking lot. The note said: Do good. It was surreal – he wondered if someone was watching him. What was he to do with the money? Do good…Do good….with $20 bucks? Hum….He wanted to do the right thing but struggled as to what that was. To this day I’m not sure what he did with the money but knowing him he found something to do good with it.
The person who left the money in the parking lot couldn’t have affirmation of their random act of kindness – they did it just to pay it forward to give good into the world with no strings attached.
In case you have an interest in paying it forward and performing more random acts of kindness….here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
In honor of International Pay It Forward Day….I pledge to remember everyday to be kind to others and to perform good deeds whenever I can.