“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” — Muhammad Ali
I recently turned 60 (yes… 60!) and it (of course) had me thinking about many things, like my own health, welfare and happiness. I feel comfortable and content in all of these things, however, I was thinking, “is there anything more”?
In 2000, when I was working with Rogers Video, we came upon a movie called “Pay it Forward” which I am sure many of my contemporaries will remember. The movie starred Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment (the Sixth Sense). The story is about a troubled young boy who is given a socials assignment: “think of something to change the world and put it into action”. The boy comes up with the idea of paying a favour not back, but forward--repaying good deeds without a payback, but with good deeds done to three new people. The movie, though finishing in tragedy, had great messages (find it on Netflix et al and watch it again).
Random acts of kindness are often taken for granted by the receiver, and the giver often doesn’t realize they are doing it. I decided to reflect on the past week and see if I fell into the “pay it forward” category. Here is what I recalled;
Sunday: Came across a friend at a coffee shop, who recently lost a young cousin – gave her a hug – she knew what the hug was for
Monday: Filled out an online job reference for a past player I had coached – he asked, I completed it the same day
Tuesday: Forwarded a resume to a company contact for a young woman who told me she was looking for work and having a hard time finding employment – knowing the company CEO, she seemed like a good fit, so I helped her out – she wasn’t asking for it, but I thought I would help
Wednesday: Spoke with a university coach about one of our graduating player’s for next season – it was the right match for his academic and athletic aspirations
Friday: Afforded time and lengthy conversation with a newcomer to starting up a volleyball club – he asked, I helped
So, for the past week, unconsciously I completed 5 random things for people other than my family. I guess I paid it forward. Yes, these were acquaintances of mine, but I still expected nothing in return. Their thank-you and smiles were enough for me.
“If you stop for one second and do something, everyone is happy. You pay it forward and it comes back to you twelve-fold.” — Mariska Hargitay
Many acts that are paid forward are spontaneous (like holding a door open for anyone before yourself; very Canadian of us) but some are planned. Like my wife (Maryanne) who every year crochets numerous scarves and hats, giving them away to the less fortunate during the winter months. Like her mother before her (who would literally produce 100’s of jars of preserves for the church), she expected nothing in return. An angel handing down the skill of generosity to another angel.
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” — Maya Angelou
I feel it is my calling, to help those who need it in a way that I can make a difference for them. I focus on what I am good at and give it out whenever I can. I have been touched by so many parents and their children (initially) through volleyball, who at times ask for my help, and I love to reciprocate. It makes me feel good. Pay it forward. It will make you feel good too!