Pay It Forward

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I love hearing about pay-it-forward Starbucks chains, and people buying lunch for members of the armed forces. But what does paying it forward really mean on a day-to-day basis?

I think about my friends Amy & Keith, who for nine years have hosted an Alex’s Lemonade Stand, raising nearly $100,000 to date for pediatric cancer research. While they have children, they haven’t lost a child to cancer. What kind of ripple effect does their event have in the community? What does it teach their girls about compassion and giving back?

I think about my friend Bhava, who wrote a beautiful post two Christmases ago about a man named Neil he had gotten to know who was struggling with a disability and housing. Bhava asked if people might show Neil some compassion, and some beautiful energy in the form of money, food, and clothing flowed his way. Bhava has never been homeless, but he went through a life-changing terminal cancer diagnosis that changed him forever.

I think about my mother, who for decades has donated blood, knitted hats, and made quilts for others through her church.

I think about my friend Peg, who believes her life was saved from terminal cancer by finding and living at the Optimum Health Institute, where she now works.

And I wonder what “pay it forward” means to you, my readers? I would love to hear your ideas.

How would you spend $250 to pay it forward?

Would you buy school supplies for under-funded teachers? Buy dinner for a fire station? Give to a charity? Add food to a food pantry?