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.

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