For those of you who are unfamiliar with the national holiday, Pay it Forward Day is this Wednesday on April 28th. The day’s purpose is to do something kind for others and not expect anything in return. Then, as the name implies, everyone should pay that act of kindness forward and help others. The point is to create a ripple effect of kindness that can change the world. With Pay it Forward Day, one small act of kindness can reach more people than you could ever imagine.
This day was inspired by the heart-wrenching book Pay it Forward written by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Her novel, released in 1999, showed the power of optimism in a world that is often less than kind. The story centers around 12-year-old Trevor McKinney and his extra-credit social studies project. He comes up with the idea of doing an act of kindness for three different people and having them repay him by passing it on to three more people, and so on. With a movement like this, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that one person could change the world.
In the new age of technology, most kind acts are done solely so someone can take credit for them. There is an abundance of videos on social media of attention seekers looking for people to lift them up and tell them how great they are. This defeats the purpose of doing good since you are only in it for yourself. We need to work on pulling ourselves out of the fictional world of social media and embrace reality more. Doing something kind for others feels more rewarding when you don’t tell anyone about it. The best gain you can get from paying it forward is helping others, not hyping yourself up for more followers. You should help others because it is the right thing to do.
Like the book this day is based on, you don’t know where that person’s day goes after you help them. You may have made someone's difficult week better and inspired them to help others and pay it forward too. Your single act of kindness can ripple outward and touch people you may never even meet, and that’s pretty awesome. It’s also important to remember that although Pay it Forward day is the 28th, it is a good philosophy to engage in kindness every day. We tend to get distracted by the busyness of everyday life and forget to think about what we can do for others. Let this Wednesday be a launching point to remind us of the power we have to change the world. To get you started, here’s a list of good deeds you can do to inspire yourself and others:
Pay for someone’s Dunkin order
Donate to a charity that means something to you (every dollar counts!)
Thank the workers at Ray
Hold the door open for others
Hand a stranger a scratch ticket
Write a nice note to someone you feel is under-appreciated