Have You Ever Paid It Forward? Do You Think That Is Important?

 Word Cloud - Volunteer Cookout Responses Aug 2012

I guess different people have a different definition of “paying it forward” than me. I have not tested this theory but I would assume that paying it forward is a subjective term based on who is doing the paying and who is getting paid. In that sense, it makes this question quite interesting to me which is why I picked this prompt. I have spoken a lot about paying it forward in my personal, professional, and educational pursuits.

     Some definitions from various sites are listed below. The first is from Wikipedia, the second is from the Oxford Dictionary, and the third one is from Urban Dictionary.

Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor. The concept is old, but the phrase may have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight.


Definition of pay it forward in English:

Respond to a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else: I will take the support I have had and try to pay it forward when I can


This is a reference to the title phrase of the book by Catherine Ryan Hyde. In the book the phrase is used as the opposite of payback: when someone does a good deed for you, instead of paying them back, pay it forward by doing a good deed for someone else.


Pretty much, I have concluded that most people from all walks of life have a basic understanding of paying it forward.

     Now, have I ever paid it forward. Yes, I have paid it forward in many ways. First I would like to state that I have had so many blessings in my life, that I need to pay it forward when possible. It is one of the staples of my existence. I have a great deal of knowledge about what volunteers and nonprofits do for our communities, our children, our homeless, our sick, our state, our country and our nation. Because I am so aware of the dedication, passion, and, in general, the great feeling of volunteering, it has made me more sensitive to when I have been helped by others.

I have paid it forward it many ways. I have raised donations for Autism Speaks and for Voices of Hope. My entire family has volunteered at community events. I have designed newsletters for causes about Autism, community help for those who are down on their luck, positive parenting newsletters, facilitator for Circle of Parents, Chairperson for the King George County Special Education Advisory Committee, designed websites, blogs, and intranet sites for I Got You Inc., and most recently, will be writing grants with Empowerhouse. Those are what is documented on my resume and my LinkedIn Profile.

     However, those are not necessarily the ones that made the most difference in my opinion. I recall the ones where I had a person thank me for helping them brush their hair because they couldn’t do it. I remember a woman who was so thankful when I took her diapers for her child because she had no transportation. Even the guy outside the thrift store that was obviously homeless and trying to light a used cigarette with one last wet match. I gave him the rest of my pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I thought he was going to cry. I did not have any money to give him but he was more thankful right then for the cigarette I think. I have lent people money that I knew I would never get back but I was paying it forward. I have babysit for people for free so that they could go to work. I raised a child for the first year of her life for nothing because the mom was not capable and I did not want to see the child end up in the system. I mentored that mother to help her get a job, her GED, her own checking account and her own car with insurance.

     I share important resources with my fellow students in class by quickly emailing them with the link(s) that they may find helpful. I have tutored people for free in subjects I was proficient in to encourage them to not give up even though I did not really have the time. I have passed out sandwiches to the homeless with my church to people who would only be eating that for the day. I have taken Christmas presents and delivered them to people in need with my church for the holidays. I have picked up extra shifts when I worked as a nurse so other nurses could spend time with their family or for an emergency. I have advocated for children with special needs by attending IEP meetings with the parents. I have shared personal stories of domestic violence with people both one on one and to a group so raise awareness and give strength to those who are going through it now. I have been in the delivery room with someone who otherwise would have been all alone and scared delivering her baby.

     Do I think paying it forward is important.? Absolutely, I believe from the bottom of my heart that paying it forward is as important to teach your children how to respect others, and even speak, read, and write. I believe that with my entire being. Sitting down to write this writing prompt has been very enlightening to me. I do not expect any further help from others but I do what I do because I care. I have a heart. I have passion. I have the burning desire to help others even with the smallest things. I have all the dedication needed to follow through with my promises.

Paying it forwarding is my trademark along with “Transparency is a Must!”

What do you think?


~ Holley Jacobs


10 thoughts on “Have You Ever Paid It Forward? Do You Think That Is Important?”

  1. I think paying it forward should be a must in your life. You don’t have to do it all day every day, but every now and then if you have the opportunity to pay it forward, do it. It doesn’t hurt you, will make you feel better and feel good about yourself, and it will most likely make someone’s day.


    1. Hi, thanks for commenting on my post. I could not agree with you more. My family have always volunteered in some way. In doing so, my son has learned many life lessons unlike other 18 year old kids. I like it here in NE – before the kids graduate they have to spend 30 hours volunteering as a mandatory issue. I was so thrilled when I heard that.
      BTW – what is the link in your post – it leads to nothing. I don’t mind you posting polls but I also don’t want broken links on my page either. Would you mind checking on that for me please?
      You have a great day learnblogging83!!
      ~ Holley

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that having the volunteering requirement is a great idea. It helps to build character and it’s such an easy thing to do. I didn’t put a link in when I made the comment, I don’t put links in unless it’s relevant to the post such as additional info, I can’t see it in my comment and I’m not familiar enough with word press.com setup to know how to edit my comments, you can remove the link if possible, sorry I don’t know how that would have happened.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No worries, I just started using WordPress about a week and a half ago. It has not been my friend….LOL! I have not had much time to interact with those who like my posts because I have been too busy trying to make sure that you guys even see my posts.
        I had my son volunteering by the age of 6. Volunteering has always been a part of my life and the older I get the more important I feel that I need to volunteer. So many nonprofit organizations have helped me and my son that I could not say enough wonderful things about them. My son has grown up (he is now 18) with volunteering in his blood and it is all he knows, so I am happy I instilled that quality and character in him. It is nice talking to you; especially knowing you are passionate about volunteering. I generally get one of two responses; people just don’t care and tune me out or they are so surprised that I actually volunteer, they want to spend more time talking about that then the actual work.


    2. Hello Again and sorry for the late response. I am still working on learning this WordPress platform. I have many other blogs and websites and blogs on other platforms but must say, WordPress is winning at the current stage as I try to establish my presence here. I agree with you and think that volunteering or paying it forward should happen when one can grasp the effect that it can have on people. I come from a nursing background so compassion is part of who I am. You could simply hold a door for someone or smile and say “Hello” and that, in and of itself will make someone’s day. You never know what burdens they are carrying or what kind of day they have had. A simple gesture like I mentioned could really make a difference in someone else’s day. I know, it has in my life. It truly is the simple things in life that are the most important. Thanks for the reply and sorry again for the delay. Bear with me as I establish my presence on this platform.


  2. Volunteering seems to see one of those things people talk about and about how good it is to volunteer but never do it themselves. I have done only a few volunteering positions, I did some for the illiteracy council here in town, SPCA, was at the hospital for a bit as a volunteer, and then also in mental health. It can really open your eyes to the world around you and what’s going on in the community it.


    1. Hello and sorry for the very long delay. I agree that volunteering can open your eyes to many areas of the world that we all should be exposed to in order to appreciate what we have. Thanks for the input. Have a great day.


  3. Lol accidently hit send on the tablet. It’s great that you’ve made that a part of his life, it will really give him an open mind and teach many life lessons


Something to add?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s