We’ll depart from my usual ForeWord typography for this post. It’s about Pay it Forward.
I first came across this phrase when writing speeches for one of the BSA’s Chief Scout Executives. He used it a great deal along with many other memorable phrases that always conveyed just the right tone and, continuing that metaphor, rang a bell in your memory. This was no fault of my speech writing, it was his natural style that I would be privileged to drop into his speeches.
Looking in Wikipedia I find that the phrase originated in Greece about 300 BC. Ralph Waldo Emerson captured the concept in a concise phrase. And, it was also a favorite of Woody Hayes. But I like Benjamin Franklin’s version, which I’ll paraphrase here:
I do not pretend to give such a deed: I only lend it to you. When you meet with another honest man in similar distress, you must pay me by lending this sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the debt by a like operation… This is a trick of mine for doing a great deal of good with a little money.
Emerson’s version is “In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them… But the benefit we receive must be rendered again… to somebody.”
From this you can see that it’s all about helping others. It might be in ways small. I’m reminded of our Scouting requirement to Do a Good Turn Daily. That Good Turn habit drives us to help others in small ways that lighten their load or buoy their spirits, even if only for a moment.
There are many other ways that we can pay it forward. There are community organizations with sound missions and the church is a marvelous way of reaching out to others. This includes the simple act of joining with others in the worship of our Lord and Savior. It also includes the larger acts of pitching in to help the church or to help fellow members or those in the nearby community.
My wife is an excellent model of volunteering. See works with the American Cancer Society to help those who are battling cancer or entering that journey. She uses her own experience and the wisdom acquired on her journey to help those in need. Her superb listening skills are a real blessing to those she helps.
I also witnessed a wonderful act of volunteering this past week. My wife and I traveled to Natchitoches, LA (pronounced Naak-a-tish) for a short getaway. At one point we visited the Melrose Plantation and had the best guided tour. Our guide was 81 years old and a descendent of the original owners, who were a Frenchman and a freed slave. She really had insight into the plantation, the changes that had taken place over the years, along with fascinating glimpses into daily life.
I’ve also seen the National Scouting Museum docents in action over the years. They are typically retired Scouting professionals who have given their careers to the movement and are now sharing that with others at the Museum.
This is such an interesting way of paying it forward and doing so well into your retirement years. It’s sharing with others your passion and your time, lending them your insight.
Pay it Forward
What are you doing to Pay it Forward? It needs to be part of our daily routine. Giving to others and asking them to also pay it forward. To quote Benjamin Franklin: This is a trick of mine for doing a great deal of good…