The older I get and the more time I have to sit and think about things, the more I have decided that the best idea that I have ever heard of is “ pay it forward.” If you don’t know what “pay it forward” means, let me tell you. It means that you should do to someone else a good deed, especially if someone has been good to you. And this winter, I have been very surprised and pleased to have more than one stranger go out of their way to do something nice for me. Now, if you are thinking that you don’t have the time or the financial resources to do something for someone else, especially someone you don’t know, let me explain.
I am not talking about giving a stranger or even a family member a large gift. Nope, what I mean is, just to go out of your way to be kind! Let me tell you why I have been not only thinking about “paying it forward” but being the recipient of many kind acts from complete strangers.
As most of you know, I have had problems with my back and eyes for several years now. And this problem has translated into me having to use a cane. I fought it for a long while, but the time came that with my eye trouble and my back trouble, a cane was really the only way I could get around. As much as I hate it, it does allow me mobility that I found almost impossible before I gave in and got one. And you can’t imagine my surprise when all of a sudden complete strangers are jumping in front of me in order to open a door for me or even pull out a chair.
Just the other day I had a woman who I never saw before ask me if she could help me carry my bag of groceries to the car. Of course, I immediately thank any and all the people who have gone out of their way to offer assistance, but that really isn’t enough. Now, I have to think of some way to pay those kindnesses forward… to someone else.
I always thought that the only people who would get help from strangers were those who were much more disabled than I am. I know that I look old these days, and the cane and the fact that I walk sort of funny makes me appear even worse. But I had no idea how kind some people actually are. And what makes these kind people stand out to me even more, is none of them are kids or boy scouts! No longer do parents encourage their children to go and open a door or pick up a fallen package for an elderly person any more. I am afraid that most children are growing up with little or no idea that this is something that they should do. And it isn’t just to help the person who might need the help, it is to guide them through childhood with the understanding of how to grow up and be a thinking, kind and good adult!
Think how different out world would be if everyone tried to “pay it forward” throughout their day. A real big thing would be wonderful but the small, everyday things of daily living would be even better. I think in the past, neighbors went out of their way to check on their neighbors and make sure that they were warm, fed and healthy. Now, most people not only don’t do that, I would guess that many people don’t even know who their neighbors are. Unfortunately, we have become a society of “me first” or “how can we get ours” and this is the way we are bringing our children up.
So think about it. If once a day, or once a week or even just once a month you thought of something as simple as helping someone (and not just someone who is handicapped) open a door to go into a store, perhaps they will be so pleased that they will “pay it forward,” too. And all of a sudden the world will be a nicer, kinder and more pleasant place. You know that I am not wrong and it will not cost you a thing nor make you go out of your way. And to all of those who have been so kind to me lately, I want to thank you again and rest assured that I am going to make “paying it forward” an integral part of my life.
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