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:
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