Several years back the ‘pay it forward’ notion became very vogue and popular. Buzz words which left such an impression on American society that it literally became a ‘thing’ during the holidays at a popular coffee house.
It’s a brilliant movement and beautiful act of human kindness.
During that time, my cousin was quick to point out that he wished people would just do these things on their own accord. Not prompted by the Oprah show, a coffee house or a popular movie, but rather because it felt like the right thing in their heart.
At the time, his words hit me a bit wrong. It felt like skepticism. People were doing good deeds after all, where was the harm in that? In the big picture there was none.
He did however also point out that he felt people had forgotten how to give freely just for the sake of doing the right thing. How people used their opportunity of giving to shout it from the roof tops, which made it feel a bit disingenuous.
But today it’s the middle of April, many years after Oprah and this coffee house made this idea vogue and I can’t help but wonder how many still do this sporadically just because.
As the mom of two young kids or more specifically with four eyes constantly watching, I try to live as ‘present’ as possible. In other words, I give a lot of thought to my actions. I don’t always get it right. I often get it wrong and there too lie lessons for us all.
It is both inherent and expected that a child begins life in a selfish mind set. Studies have actually been done on this and I have read my fair share of articles both explaining and teaching a parent how to navigate through this way of thought.
To say to a child ‘it’s not all about you,’ is plain silly in my opinion. When they are toddlers and still in diapers, etcetera, it really is about them. Life as they know it is dependent upon their elders. As they grow we teach them through language and actions how to be mindful, respectful and giving towards others.
This is not the place where I will gloat, brag or boast on how ‘my kids get it.’ That’s truly not the purpose of this piece and in fairness they too don’t always get it right. We are indeed a perfectly imperfect trio and I’d not change it for the world.
My challenge or really my hope is that we each learn and embrace this notion of living more present. Living in a manner of being aware of oneself and true selflessness. This can be done in so many unexpected and equally appreciated ways it’s mind blowing.
From the simple act of letting a person back out of a parking spot that you don’t need or holding a door open and smiling on the other side. These acts cost nothing, yet can quite simply make the day of the other person.
This all brings me back to one of my most favorite quotes, which I’m sure I’ve shared here before. Each time I read this quote I can’t help but wonder, if each of us faced this quote each morning and went out into the world in this mind set how different would each day be. I honestly have no clue, but I do however hope to be witness to it and in doing so … I hope my children (those four eyes) gain witness to it as well.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.