Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Will Pay it Forward This Christmas. Will You?

One of my favorite movies was one that I don't even like.  Do you think that doesn't make sense?  Here is my explanation for the craziness.  I loved the concept of the movie "Pay it Forward".  The actual movie itself, while touching, had a horrible ending.  In case you haven't seen it, I won't share the end, but it did not necessarily match the power of the message in the movie.

If you haven't seen the movie, it is based on a small boy who starts a nationwide movement by doing one small good deed for someone in need.  The only thing that he asks in return is for that person to pay it forward and do a good deed for someone else.  The story continues with thousands of people helping out their fellow man.

This seems to me to be the perfect time of year to pay it forward.  There is enough hardship this year to go around, but luckily my family, so far, is not one of those facing the economic turmoil.  I always seem to have better intentions than I can actually follow through on.

The movie I described is probably one that is ten years old, but I still think about how I can pay it forward.  I do small things like most other people.  I make monetary donations here and there.  I donate our old clothes and toys to Goodwill or the Veterans organizations.  I donate toys to local toys drives, but still I don't feel like I have that personal affect on someones life.  To those that I donate to, I am an anonymous person.  

I know the things that I mentioned above are good things and that those who receive them appreciate and need them.  I will gladly continue to do them, but I feel like it's not enough. So finally, this Christmas season, I will pay it forward.

There is a local army recruiting center down the street from my house.  I have always wanted to do something for them to say thank you.  This week, just before Christmas, I am taking them lunch as a thank you.  The one catch is that they already pay it forward every day.

I want to ask that those who read my blog or are members of Smart Girl Politics think of a way that they can pay it forward.  Whether you pay for someones lunch that is in a drive-thru line behind you or buy someones groceries who are in line ahead of you, find a way to pay it forward for someone.  You can even get one of those Dear Santa dead letters at your local post office and fulfill someones dream.

I have always wanted to pay it forward and this Christmas I will finally complete the mission.  If you chose this mission, I would love for you to come back and share with everyone what you did to pay it forward.


Mel said...

awesome idea and I will be thinking of how i can pay it forward!!

Anonymous said...

Stacy: You and I think a little differently. I do not think that buying something for someone is my way of paying it forward. I consider my monetary donations as something that makes me feel better but not necessarily giving of myself.

If I see some older person sitting by themselves at lunchtime, I ask them if they would like company and sit and talk with them. If I'm shopping and see someone who needs some help, I stop and try to offer assistance. I try to teach one of my hobbies/crafts to someone who needs a hobby and cannot afford to take lessons or buy supplies. I am going to make my special cookies for a friend's grandson so she can spend more time with him on his once a year visit. There are so many different ways to give of yourself that do not include money. Even just a smile can make a very big difference in someone else's day (and that is not just a cliche'). Trite as it seems, this evening I asked (harrassed) a manager into assisting a group of people; he had stuffed 6-1/2 people into a space meant for 4 at a restaurant. When he finally acquiesced to my determination, the diners thanked me for my assistance.

I read in the newspapers every day how angry shoppers are and how insenitive they are in their quest for a bargain and wonder where their humanity went. If they could be a little more considerate and perhaps use those facial muscles for a smile instead of a scowl, perhaps the ripple effect could brighten the day of a whole lot of people. Now that's what I consider paying it forward.

nokomis said...

Pay it forward is a great concept and I wish I remembered the movie better. Your post did remind me of some $ I intended to pay forward but haven't found a good recipient yet.

Last fall my church did a reverse offering and gave out $10,000 in $20 increments with the direction to use it to bless the world. Mine $ went to a group that assists Kurdish girls displaced from there rural villages in Turkey (so odd all the different organizations out there.) Anyway I had the pleasure of a nice evening out with a friend, including a good dinner at the fundraiser, so mostly benefitted myself with the $.

As it was quite enjoyable for me, I think I'm going to look for someone else on limited budget to a treat to a nice dinner out.

One group that I won't be treating to lunch are military recuriters, who can stay far away from my kids. If our country is one day in a just war of last resort, they can choose to enlist. My town is deploying troops again soon and it includes people serving their 4th or 5th tour of duty, which is outrageously above and beyond reasonable expectations of service.

Sorry to wreck the spirit of the your post. All the recent news coverage of how grateful the shoe throwing Iraqi people are to President Bush for libertating thier country through war has stirred up my ire a bit again on this.

Stacy said...'s amazing that people can take a good will post and make it something else.

The point was not about monetary donations or spending money on people. My point was my time right now is not my own. I wanted to do something personal. I only offered up a few suggestions, but that was not all I was suggesting.

As for our military recruiters, I will thank them and the rest of the military daily if I can. It is these men and women and their families who sacrifice the most in this country. It is their sacrifice that allows some to sit in their homes and leave comments on blogs.

SWAC Girl said...

Thanks for your great post, Stacy. What I call "random acts of kindness," the little things you mention can change people's lives and is something I have enjoyed throughout my life. It was passed on to me when I was young by someone who said, "Pass it along."

Babysitting for a military wife whose husband is in Iraq ... buying small gifts for the children of soldiers ... a grocery gift card for someone who may be on a tight budget ... corresponding with someone who is alone ... visiting with an elderly aunt ... sitting with someone at the hospital as they wait....

Thanks for all you do with the Smart Girl Politics blog. It is much appreciated.

Merry Christmas to you and yours at this joyful time of year ... and may you have a blessed New Year.

I am Boymom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geri said...

Hey Stacy - I loved the movie until the end! I was like "WHAT?!!? What kind of ending is that for this kind of movie!?" Anyway, the whole Pay It Forward movement is awesome. And who is to say what is right for anyone as far as how they choose to serve? Service is very personal. Sometimes it is monetary, sometimes it comes in the form of our time and talent. It doesn't matter how you pay it forward, it only matters that you offer some random act of kindness on behalf of another. Thanks for the reminder, my family and I are working on our Pay it Forward moment for next week. keep up the good work with SGP!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea and think any form of kindness is a way of changing the world. It does have a ripple effect, and I love to idea of being part of that!

An American Liberal said...

First of all, I loved this movie, and my wife, like you, thought the ending was horrid.

Nevertheless the idea is intriguing and seems "genuine".

I, personally, agree with one of the previous posters and have practiced "random acts of kindness" throughout my life.

Merry Christmas.
An American Liberal

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