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.