The dictionary definition of “to pay it forward” is “to respond to a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else”. But it’s no longer just a phrase or an expression. It’s become a movement, and there’s even an annual event called “Pay It Forward Day” (April 28) with the goal to inspire 10 million acts of kindness all over the world.
But it’s easier said than done. Everybody’s constantly busy, hurrying to get to work, rushing to get the kids to practice, fitting in groceries and bills between everything else. We think about acts of kindness, but when was the last time you followed through?
It’s ok, we all do it. We don’t want to make the time, spend the money. Or we aren’t sure how the person will react, so we “chicken out”. Can you imagine a world where everyone showed a little kindness or compassion, or did a favor for someone just once a day?
Every Saturday I shop at a local grocery store that charges $.25 to use a shopping cart. You insert a quarter which unlocks the cart, and when you’re finished, you return the cart, and it returns your quarter. Instead of returning my cart, I look for someone in the parking lot going into the store. When they try to give me their quarter, I say, “That’s ok. Just pass it on when you’re finished.” Simple. I’ve made the recipient’s day, and it costs me $1.00 a month.
What could you do to “pay it forward”? Will you choose to participate in International Pay It Forward Day on April 28? Let’s challenge each other to find a way to give back – and keep it going.
Here are basic acts of kindness to get you started
- When you’re in line for coffee, pay for the person behind you.
- Carry an extra umbrella, and give it to a person who needs it.
- If the person behind you in the grocery line only has a few items, let him go first.
- Do some basic repairs for an elderly neighbor or family member.
- Donate to your favorite charity.
- Call or write a letter to a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
- Tell the manager at a restaurant that your waitress did a great job.
- Cook a meal for new parents.
- Tell a person how much you appreciate them.
- Donate old towels or blankets to animal shelter
- Bake treats for a neighbor, especially someone who lives alone.
- Write a recommendation for a friend on LinkedIn.
- Babysit for someone who could use a night out.
- Offer to walk dogs at a local shelter.
- Leave quarters at the laundromat or the car wash.
- Buy something from a local fundraiser (Girl Scout cookies, lemonade stand).
- Put together a care package for a military member (the Marine Corps league auxiliary will mail these for people)
- Help clean up a street or park
- Donate clothes to a shelter or charity thrift store
- Write a positive review for a local business.
- Donate blood.
- Take a walk with someone who needs to get active.
- Become a mentor or study buddy.
- Pass on a good book.
- Donate school supplies.
- Donate to a food pantry
- Adopt a pet.
For more information about Pay It Forward Day and how you can participate, visit their website.
And if you have other ideas, we’d love to hear from you. Just leave them in the Comments section.
A kids savings account is a great way to start teaching your little one to give back. Sign up today and receive a free piggy bank! Click here for more information.