When you “pay if forward”, the hope is that you will inspire others to do the same. If you help someone change a flat tire, they will feel so good, that they may pay someone else’s’ parking meter. If everyone kept passing kindness to the next person, there would be a non-stop flow of good deeds.
Paying it forward is something someone does because they want to do it and it should be done without looking for something in return.
Example: There was a young man who was looking for a job. Everywhere he went he had no success.
After a full day of job hunting he was about to climb on his bike to go home, when he saw a lady almost dropping four grocery bags, he dropped his bike to the ground and ran over to help her. He helped her carry them down the block and up the stairs of her apartment. She offered to pay him but he refused to take the money. About a week later he stopped into a pet shop that had a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. When he walked up to the counter asked the women who owned store for an applications. The owner recognized him immediately, thanked him again for helping her with the grocery bags and gave him the job.
Little things like this that we do can not only help reinforce our positive behavior skills but also pay forward and unseen investment that will eventually pay us back tenfold.
There are schools that have teachers and staff acting as secret mentors who are Paying it Forward to the students in their school. Each teacher or staff member have a selected number of students that they agreed to take notice, cheer on and support. As one middle school teacher explained to me: “There are some students in my school who may never hear a complement at home. That is why I make it a point that they hear one from me every day.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Report on Violance in Schools found that adolescents who viewed their teachers as providing both academic and emotional support were less likely to experience alienation from school or emotional distress.
School staff I talk to who implement this secret mentor program notice a reduction in aggressive behavior and disrespect.
I am sure you remember a teacher who patted you on the back and might have said something like, “hang in there” and you may still remember how good it felt. Well now it is your turn to “pay it forward”.
Copyright Richard Paul 2013