First of all, the term means giving without intentions of receiving something in return; helping someone out, when they need it - without expectations for yourself. Wow, imagine that! Have we forgotten our own humanitarian instincts of helping others? Are we so into our own world and lives, we have forgotten that others also need our help too?
When I first moved here, I thought it totally strange that Germans never smile at each other or try to make small talk. I am not the most bubbly person myself, but I do try to smile at others to make their day just a little more enjoyable. A few people think this is annoying or think I want something from them; it is not always well received. Depending on my mood, I do it anyway; it makes me feel good too. I think life is just a little bit more enjoyable when people are kind to each other. I even let others go ahead of me a the checkout, especially when I have the weekly family shopping cart to unload. These are truly random acts of kindness! And some days, when I am least expecting it, someone is nice to me too!
I found that the idea of paying it forward is not at all new. There are records of the the random acts of kindness dating back to the Roman Era. Most every generation has had an encounter with the concept. The idea of paying it forward became popular to our generation after the movie "Pay it Forward" with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment - to give to others and have three more pass it on. In the crafting and sewing world, it usually has a few rules attached:
- Post on your own website about Paying it Forward.
- Leave a comment on the initial hosting website.
- Make something for three more people who leave comments on your website and sent it to them within 365 days of the original post.
Here are some suggestions from me.
- Make something and donate to your local community hospice or Diakonie such as a blanket. It will be very well received and appreciated.
- If you belong to a quilt exchange program, make something for an old friend or exchange partner - you probably still have their address!
- The next time your are at your local quilt store, leave an unofficial coupon for the next person coming into the store to use.