PAYING IT FORWARD

One of my all-time favourite movies is Pay it Forward. For those who don’t know it, it’s an absolute tear jerker, but well worth it. The concept highlighted in the movie, through a young boy school’s project, is doing three good deeds for others in response to a good deed that one receives. Ultimately, paying it forward would spread through society at a ratio of three to one. Sounds good to me.

Here’s a sample from the movie:

Thorsen: He told me, ‘Just pay it forward’. Three big favours for three other people. That’s it.
Chris: So it’s like a pass it on thing, then.

Recently I discovered a number of “Pay it Forward” (PIF) websites on Facebook, which encourage people to pass on unwanted goods to others for free. It’s a great idea and I’ve managed to pass on a few things and pick up a couple of things too. Last week I was given a new foot spa filled with pamper products – I used these on my birthday and felt quite spoilt. I passed on a little black dress and handbag to a young mother with a newborn.
This rose bush was a gift from a friend who is a gift to me.
But after checking the page one morning to see what was being PIF-ed, I suddenly felt somewhat concerned. Was I checking the site to see what I could PIF, or was I, heaven forbid, checking to see what I could get? How did this become something that would benefit me? It made me feel uncomfortable, because I am by nature one who likes to give to others. I choose to give away rather than sell. So, why was I drawn to look for things I did not need? I guess the desire to get is innate in all of us and sometimes, despite pushing it aside, it is triggered.
Blue Eyes, an intensely giving man, says that is what the site is for, and yes, he is right. But the motivation should be, in my eyes, for giving, not receiving – at least for me. It’s hard to explain, because it’s a feeling that comes from within me…am I just being too analytical? I just don’t want to take more than I need. Now, when I look at the site every once in a while, I think before I put my name down for something. Do I need it? Does someone need it more? Do I really want it?
I received a late birthday card last week that reminded me of the inherent goodness behind the PIF concept. It was from the young woman who picked up my little black dress. This young mother realised I’d just had a birthday so took it upon herself to send me a card and some “scratchies”. The sweetness and surprise of this act reminded me of the adage, “It is better to give than receive”.
Pay it forward – whether it’s something tangible or a random act of kindness. You might not get thanked like I did, but you may have made someone’s day.