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Giving Back by Paying it Forward
Giving Back in Our Day to Day...Simple & Profound
Most of us have our "close to our hearts" charities that we give our time and or money to, in the hopes of making a difference in the lives of others. We have "adopted" certain causes because they have touched our lives or the lives of those we care about. These are important and needed endeavors. But, sometimes we get involved in "big" causes and lose sight of the day to day lives we touch and how we can better impact those around us. Friends, family, neighbors and strangers can all be touched in a positive way. When we reach out a hand of kindness simply for the sake of kindness, with nothing expected in return, we enable those we touch to reach out and touch others. Like an interesting YouTube video can go "viral" by being shared exponentially, so too can random acts of kindness.
Below are some examples of what you can do. But, do not be limited by these ideas alone. Vise them as a springboard to get you started. Explore your abilities and your personal knowledge base to determine how you can reach out, pay it forward and give back. Make a difference, share a smile and be one of the good guys (or gals).
A Cup of Joe for GI Joe : The Coffee Factor
Many of us visit convenience stores on a regular basis; for some of us it is a daily occurrence. Coffee is the life blood of many of our days and we seek it 24oz. at a time at our local Wawa, 7-11 or Circle K. How do we turn this common act of caffeine consumption into an act of kindness?
The next time you are fueling up and you see a member of the U.S. Armed Forces in line with their beverage of choice...pick up the tab. This can be utilized with police officers, paramedics or any one easily recognizable as a "servant" of the people. Thank them for their service and say "I got this." Go as big or as small as you want with this...it could be a simple drink or an entire meal. If there is no visible public servant in line, then just randomly pay for someone's coffee. Tell them to pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else.
Shopping Cart Give Away : Coupon Kindness
If you are a coupon clipping connoisseur you probably have multiples of many of your coupons. When you are trekking up and down the isles and waiting in line at check out, you can help a fellow shopper in a very simple way. If you see that they have items in their cart that you have coupons for, you can simply give them the coupons. Say, "excuse me, but I noticed that you have product(s) A, B and C and I have extra coupons for them...here you go." When they thank you, ask them to pass it on...
Do you know someone who is a shut in or has a hard time getting out to go food shopping? Ask if you can go for them and in addition to getting their food for them you can utilize your coupons to help cut their cost. If you've figured out how to get stuff real cheap or for free, don't you think they would be thrilled with the same savings?
Educational Front : Tutor a Child
How many children struggle with one topic or another as they work their way through K-12? Many students have a weak topic of study and some may have it in a subject that you excel in. If one of your neighbors has a child that is struggling in your area knowledge, offer to tutor them for free. Some parents need, but can't afford, a tutor for their child. They may be single parents or just a family that is struggling for any one of many reasons. We, as a community, need to help each other reach our full potential as individuals. This can also be a way to help a single mom get her degree, so she can better provide for herself and her children. You can offer to proof-read reports, term papers and other writings associated with their education. You can teach math or science if that is your specialty. Any help could enable that one student to more fully reach their full potential.
Find Your Niche : Give of Your Time (and Money) according to Your Ability
Whatever you do in your daily life...wherever you go...give. It may be as simple as holding a door that extra few moments for an approaching stranger, raking leaves for a older or disabled neighbor or anything you can think to do. Be creative and see what you can do to make a person's life a little easier...or at least make them smile. Remember to do these acts of kindness without the expectation of receiving anything in return (except, hopefully, a smile) and ask the person to pay it forward. In doing so, we can make our communities better for everyone and we are teach our own children what being a good person and citizen looks like in action. We each can give and make our communities a nicer place to live.