Friday, August 31, 2007

Pay it Forward

Have you seen this movie? I actually have not, although I am familiar with the premise. A 12-year-old boy believes in the goodness of human nature and was determined to change the world for the better. He encouraged people to do a random act of kindness to a stranger, they then pass the kindness on to three other people, thus "paying it forward".

I was born into a family with the Pay it Forward concept on the heart. My grandfather would routinely volunteer at the local shelter, get groceries for a local shut-in, let a stranger borrow his new car. He was not only blessed financially because of it, it also led to a generosity of spirit for all those around him. It made all around want to be a better human being. Better Christian.
Last night, I came across an old Oprah show. Bank of America gave each audience member $1,000 and one week to Pay it Forward and change someones life for the better. The hour long show was full of inspirational stories, but here are my favorites:
  • 2 women that saved a local woman's shelter by bringing in hundreds of donations. Bottles, blankets, sippy cups. clothes, children's toys were all donated. Their kindness was infectious, leading to $200,000 being donated to the center through various local business and families in the community.
  • A first grade teacher that is instructing a 68-year-old man how to read along with her first graders. He walks seven blocks each day to the library in order to get a chance to fine tune his reading skills. With her $1,000, they gave him a large quantity of books that he can keep at his home to read at will.
  • A mother of five young children who rode the bus 2 hours each way to work because she did not have money for a car. Four of the people in the audience came together and bought one for her, limiting her drive to 15 minutes each way.

The inspiring stories continued, and as the show went on, the inspiration bubbled in me, "What can I do?" I definitely do not have $1,000 to give away, but what can I do with $10? $100? My time?

I have not come up with an answer yet, but I want you to keep me accountable in doing so. How can I, one person, make a difference?

One thought I have had on my heart is helping people that struggle with infertility. My husband and I consider ourselves lucky. Within a couple of months, the doctors figured out what was preventing us from conceiving and we are currently expecting our second child. However, I know of countless others...struggling each month to conceive-- an emotional and financial struggle. Only if you have been there month after month when the hopelessness sets in do you fully understand how difficult it is. For many, the months end with thousands of dollars in debt and few options left because of financial hardships.

So, I challenge you- what will you do? What are your ideas? Will it be giving gift cards to a homeless person for lunch, volunteering your time, paying for someone's gas? What can we do to be better stewards of our money, and show our thankfulness for what we have? I would love to hear your ideas....

1 comment:

Qtpies7 said...

There is a ministry called "Blessed Arrows" that pays for people to get sterilization reversals so they can put their fertility back in God's hands. You could look into that ministry for a donation.
Right now we are sponsering a child in the Congo and will keep that up until she is grown. But locally we have not found a long term ministry.
I am going to go and donate a bunch of baby cereal to either the food shelves or the crisis pregnancy center because you have motivated me!