Saturday, June 27, 2009

What have you done to change the world?

I have been meaning to watch this movie for quite a long time, and it's only till now, I followed through the whole film. It's such a beautiful story with an interesting concept to it. The story starts off with a young boy who's been given a project by his school teacher to put into action an idea that could change the world. So young 12 year old Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) comes up with a plan to do good deeds for three people who then by way of payment each must do good turns for three other people. These nine people also must pay it forward and so on, ad infinitum. Trevor calls his idea "pay it forward".

The story is moving and it makes you think if you could realistically put it into action. But 'pay it forward' has 3 rules to it:-

1)It has to be something that really helps people
2)Something they can't do themselves
3)I do it for them, they do it for three other people

I looked through the website for what 'others' may have done, having inspired by the movie itself....hmmmmm, maybe they weren't paying attention to the rules...some have paid (anonymously) for a stranger's meal in a restaurant...the person paying may have felt good about it but surely if 'a' person sits in a restaurant, he must have been able to fork out his own meal??

There were some good ideas like:-

1. Forgive some who might have wronged you in the past. Go out of your way to do them a favor.
2. Search out someone who may need some real financial assistance. Maybe someone had their lights turned off because they could not pay the bill . You could be the light that they need.
3. Visit an elderly person in need of assistance or a visit.
4. Give someone your car. (wow, I better make sure I pay my loan first)
5. If you provide services for living, give your services pro bono.
6. Pay someone's mortgage for a month -- or a year for that matter.
7. Help a student with their tuition.
8. Help with an inner city project.
9. Be a mentor.
10. Walk someone's dog.(Done....10 years ago)
11. Shovel someone's walkway.
12. Babysit for free.(Ching!!! You see that...start paying if forward...just kidding!)
13. Have a fund raiser at your school.
14. Clean someone's house.
15. Drive people around.
16. Rake someone's leaves.(I like the leaves on the ground....)
17. Play music for the elderly. ( my piano playing would have them snoozing off)
18. Leave a huge tip next time you go out to dinner.(done...erm, but maybe the waitor would have looked at the tip and said,"are you kidding me?")
19. Give a lottery ticket to a stranger.
20. Treat a police officer to a cup of coffee.
21. Bring some goodies to the fire station.
22. Pick up someone's tab the next time you dine out.(Done!)
23. Pay the highway toll for the person behind you.(No toll in Brunei, sorry!)
24. Invite the less fortunate for Thanksgiving dinner.
25. Donate food, clothing, and money to the needy.
26. Buy the movie tickets for the person behind you.
27. Mow someone's lawn.
28. Cook a nice meal for a friend.(Done, done , done!)
29. Help a homeless person find a home.
30. Read the book, 365 Ways To Change The World, by Michael Norton, and then give the book to a stranger.

Thing is, I do think some of the 'do list' above are things most people can do for themselves. The movie wouldn't have been so appealing if not for Trevor to point out that the help has got be something that 'really'helps people. Small gestures are still blessings but 'pay it forward' feels more like a significant 'difference' you do to or for someone. I mean, are we brave enough to 'go out of our way' to 'do' something different out of our routines to 'help' somebody?

Remember Les Miserables by Victor Hugo? It's like when the Bishop Myriel saved ex-convict Jean Valjean, later telling him to make an honest man of himself. Jean Valjean followed through with his promise. The significance of the bishop's help did turn Jean Valjean's life around. He turned good and did help more than 3 characters in the book that did 'help' and made a difference. I would imagine that's the kind of 'help' Trevor Mckinney was aiming for.

It's made me think and wonder, who do I 'pay it forward' and how many? I always feel I'm conditioned to think to look out for myself, cause we have to survive. It makes you think when everyone's out there for themselves...and Trevor says,"Is the world just s***?"

Trevor Mckinney helped and although some of the 'help' he gave was truly heartbreaking, he showed true courage and bravery.

So let's just say, I'm thinking..
when someone does you a big favor, don't pay it back... Pay It Forward


Ching said...

Yeah, I feel quite inspired, sis. I'll have to think hard about it. I guess people don't really undertake such deeds because the majority of such actions require sacrifice on our part and in such busy lives as well. Maybe it is a coincidence that I signed up to deliver food to needy families five times next month and then read your blog posting. I was hesitant about doing the voluntary job as it would take up about four precious hours per day (and I have no time from when the boys get up to when my head hits the pillow at midnight) and a lot of physical work, loading the groceries in my car, driving an average of twenty minutes to each home and climbing to the tops of apartment blocks with all the groceries..whilst hubby would also have to take time out to look after the boys whilst I do it and then, he'd have to make up lost work time by working later at night.

But yes, I guess sometimes we need to think about other people and what they need to, easy to lose sight of that and hard to actually pay it forward.

I think of what I'm doing as away of paying forward to many small kindnesses you all have done for me over the years. Keep up the good food for thought!

jac said...

I think what you're doing is very cause worthy and does make a difference to people's lives. And yes, it's easy to forget other people's needs when everything keeps us busy. Thanks for inspirational thought sis. hugs xx