Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pay It Forward Fridays

It's Friday!  And, for the first time ever I get to do this "Pay It Forward Friday" having actually watched the movie.   One scene in particular I really liked.  The boy, can't remember his name, is in front of the class writing on the chalkboard his idea to change the world.  The pay it forward plan.  The other kids scoff at his idea.  Teacher steps forward to tell the boy that he's designed an Utopian world where people co-exist on the honor system, as if this were a bad thing.  The boy thinks for a moment and then says, "So?".

So.  Indeed.  I love words.  And I love it when one little word is used to sum up so many other words.  So, what if it is an Utopian world?  What if we all really did get through life on the honor system?  And having faith that others were as well.  What's wrong with that?  Why is that not possible?   As for me, I'm with the boy. 

 And, so today's Pay It Forward is not going to be the usual.  Normally this is the point where I embed the link to a cool video and talk about good deeds people have done.  Inspiration by the boy and the perfect one word answer, has struck.  Pay It Forward doesn't always have to be a good deed.  Sometimes, just a word or two can do the trick.

Yesterday was a bad day at work.  The kind where I cry during the drive home.  Frustrating, stressful and every hour seemed like two.  On top of that it was Curriculum Night at my son's school.  After working late, I had to call my husband and tell him that I wouldn't have time to come inside and eat dinner.  Pulling into the driveway, I would honk, my son and husband could come running out and we would just make it to school in time.   My husband and I sat, crammed into the tiny desks with our knees up to our chins, hanging on the teacher's every word.  Until, she turned away for a moment and I got the chance to riffle through my son's desk.  He had a newspaper that he was working on.  Extra, Extra Read All About Me! blared the headlines.  What caught my eye were the words, "A Hero Story" pre-printed and my son's careful lettering underneath, which read, "My Mom".  He went on to tell a story about why I was his hero.  And just like that, with a few short words my day was transformed, into a day that I would forever remember with pride and happiness. 

The Pioneer Woman writes that it wasn't even a word that touched her and made it all better for her.  It was a wink.  From a total stranger.  According to her story, her fourth child was born via emergency C-section prematurely and placed in a NICU.  With her husband and other children staying at their farm an hour away, she was left to recuperate and worry on her own.  One day, tired, in pain from her surgery and worried for her newest son, she walked slowly back to her room.  And that's when she came across him.  A man who just happened to be passing by in the hallway.  Maybe he too had had a preemie baby.  Maybe it was something on her face.  Whatever it was, the man winked at her and smiled.  And, Pioneer Woman says that was when she knew everything would be all right.  And it was.

My friend offered up this story of a shopping experience with her mom.  Out for some quality bonding time with mom, it was actually torture.  When my friend picked up a necklace she was contemplating buying her mother piped in with, "Are you getting that?  I don't think it works with your neck and face.  Your sister could wear it.  She has such dainty, pretty features."  On and on it went.  It was as they were leaning up against the railing and looking at the floor below them that my friend looked around for potential witnesses.  Perhaps no one would see if she gave her mom a little shove.  Her mother should thank God for the lady that passed by right then.  A stranger stopped my friend and asked what color and brand her lipstick was.  She loved the color, it was perfect for this season.   Which of course, was the exact opposite of what her mother had been saying.  Instant mood brightener. 

It's the unexpected compliment that means so much.  A kind word or two that makes all the difference in the world.  The moral of the story is this: if someone comes up to you and tells you that you aren't making any difference in this world, that it's as crazy and messed up as it ever was, say "So?" and then compliment them on their lipstick. 


  1. Love the lipstick compliment. I would call this a random act of kindness. I like both concepts of "Pay It Forward" and "Random Acts of Kindness."

  2. Thanks! Whether it's a Random Act Of Kindness or Pay It Forward, they're both great! I'll take all the kindness I can get.

    Love your blog. Liked looking at the pics of hummingbirds!

  3. You're so right - sometimes all it takes to connect with another person to right your world. Usually for me that's my mother :).

  4. I love this! It's so true that how just a few kind words can change their day (or week or month!) in such a big way. I think if people did this more often, people would be happier. Great post! :-)

  5. It's amazing how a word or two can change our entire outlook. Thank you for sharing these inspiring stories.

  6. Thank you for sharing! I agree that sometimes it's the small things, the word or two, that can have a powerful impact. It reminds me that not only the kind words do this but the few careless ones too.

  7. Thanks, I love the movie "Pay it Forward". A few well placed words or kind acts are worth their weight in gold:)

  8. Thank you everyone for the kind comments! I agree that a few kind words really can make a difference, change a mood and brighten a day. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to speak kindly to people I come across. And Confused homemaker you are so right about not only the kind ones but the careless ones too can have an impact. Seems to me that the careless ones usually have a longer lasting impact.