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Helping others: passing kindness on

Updated on March 30, 2016
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Jan T Urquhart Baillie has many sides to her personality, born out of a difficult life, and success due to her optimism and practical skills

Why would you want to help someone?

Even those who can't help you in return?

Have you been helped when you were really in need?

I'm sure most of us have been there at some time.

Did the person who helped you expect anything in return for their kindness?

What if you were never able to return that person's goodness to you?

Let me share how I live my life by passing the kindness on...

All the photographs in this lens were purchased from

Why help another person?

Another who is in need?

When I was very young, I used to collect 'strays' and help them when they needed some extras.

In 1954 or 55, when I was around eight or nine, some new kids came to our school. Their family were Italian migrants — a rare and unusual experience for Australian school populations then.

These kids had great lunches in contrast to our peanut butter sandwiches or Vegemite ones. They had slabs of unbuttered bread, and in between slices of salami, reeking of garlic.

Other kids shunned them because they were different.

Kids can be so cruel

As are all animals to oddballs

I made friends with these nice 'different' kids, who were no different from the rest of us.

They just ate the food which they were used to having from the 'old country'.

I was too young to ask all the other kids if they would want their Vegemite® if they went to live in Italy.

Chatting to elderly residents

Around our town

As I wandered around on my 'maverick' journeys to all parts of Toronto (NSW), I talked to many older residents.

I chatted to them about all our 'business' as my mother would say, apalled that I did so.

Actually what I was doing was visiting. I was unaware that old people get lonely, and I was a bright, vivacious child who loved people.

How they must have enjoyed my bright chatter!

Wouldn't it be lovely if kids could still be that free and safe?

Let your light shine

Random Acts of Kindness: (Treat People With Kindness, for Fans of Chicken Soup for the Soul)
Random Acts of Kindness: (Treat People With Kindness, for Fans of Chicken Soup for the Soul)
Don't be afraid to help someone who needs your help, now. You will get it back many times over from elsewhere.

Washing hair

for a 'neglected' child

I think I was only eleven when another girl started to attend our school.

She was quite unkempt, and didn't seem to be cared for properly at home.

Although we were very poor, we were never not bathed or in clean, well-kept clothes. (My mother had appearances to keep up. VBG )

Scrounging some soap from home, I washed her hair in the wash basins in the girl's dressing sheds. She became a staunch friend and I learned years later when I stayed overnight at her house, that the family were very poor, there were many children in the house, and her mum wasn't coping.

Sadly, I have lost touch with Patricia from moving around so much.

Continued helping

Even when I had little money

As I grew up, I always was ready to help someone who had less than I had, even though I was actually fairly poor in money terms, I felt I was rich in other ways.

We were living in a tiny house — my friends called it a doll's house, I took in a friend whose husband had left her with two tiny children. Back then there was no welfare payments available for people in such trouble.

All my kids (three at that time) were moved into one room, and Lesley and her baby and the toddler were ensconced in one of the three bedrooms in our house.

It was such a squash, but we managed, and soon Lesley was able to go to live with her mother. Our place was just a stop-gap really.

She asked me how she could repay me, and my answer was: "When you can, help someone else."

Pioneer of pass it on

Or 'pay it forward'

When I said that to Lesley, I realised that she would probably never be in a position to help me, but sometime she would be able to help someone.

I began my philosophy of passing it on.

I always get help when I need it, from unexpected sources often. I am unable to repay that person in some cases, but as I help others I do it for the one who helped me.

I can always share 'me', even if that's all I have at the time.

Ways you can help others - who are in need

Not by money, or earthly goods, but by sharing yourself

  • Listening
  • Sharing
  • Visiting
  • Chatting
  • Inviting out

Follow the golden rule - Do unto others

As you would have them do unto you

Image: iStockPhoto[dot]com

© 2016 Jan T Urquhart Baillie


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