Monday, November 28, 2011

Pay it Forward Monday - Week 1

The idea of “paying it forward” is not new to Society, in fact it dates all the way back to Ben Franklin who, in a letter describing his intent to offer financial assistance to an acquaintance, expressed his desire for the recipient to extend a favor to someone else in return instead of repaying Franklin directly. The good deed idea was made popular in contemporary society by the 2000 film, "Pay it Forward", starring Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. In the film, a 7th grade boy embarks on a school project that involves his performing a favor for three people and requests the recipients help someone else during a time of need as repayment. These days “pay it forward” is a common phrase that can encompass anything from simply holding a door for someone to paying an elderly neighbor’s electric bill.

For the 2011 Christmas season, Billy and I have decided that Mondays will be “Pay it Forward Monday” where we will perform a good deed for a stranger without any expectation of having the favor repaid. I will relay our weekly intents in this blog and share ideas of potential “pay it forward” acts in the hopes that some of you will also be inspired to help make the world around you a better place during the holiday season.

This week we decided to start a “Pay it Forward” chain at the Starbucks drive-thru. A few weeks ago we were involved in a similar chain and thought it was a great idea (especially since the car behind me had a cheaper order than I did!) but this week we decided to initiate the gesture ourselves. I have no idea how long the chain continued, and I really don’t care – what I do care about is that my 10 year-old son requested that we do something nice for someone else with no expectation of recognition or repayment. How could I turn down his request to do something good?

So, my challenge to you is this: what can you do today (or tomorrow since this is so late in getting posted) that will make a stranger’s life a little easier or more pleasant? Feel free to leave a comment – you may inspire someone else to do something good, also! And be thinking about what you will do next week for “Pay it Forward Monday”!

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