This archived article was written by: Kaina Elias
When someone does one a favor, the courteous response is to be thankful and pay the favor back. That way, the person feels like, even if unconsciously, the debt was paid and one does not owe anything else. The cycle of kindness if the favor was done by heart and with the only intention of helping. The cycle starts with the person doing the favor, sometimes ends there, and if the benefited person pays the favor back, the cycle ends there, affecting only two people.
The ‘pay it forward’ concept is simple: instead of a paying a favor back, one must pay it forward, by doing a favor, act of kindness, etc., to someone else other than the person that did the first act. By doing so, the cycle of kindness should not stop because there will always be someone paying it forward and giving the “task” to someone else to make other’s lives better.
The “Pay it Forward” movie, directed by Mimi Leder and starring Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment and Helen Hunt, works around this concept.
Trevor (Osment) comes up with the idea of a charitable program based on networking good deeds, after his professor Eugene Simonet (Spacey) gave his class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that would change the world for the better.
In the movie, Trevor expands upon this process by using exponential growth, a math law that not even himself realized was working in his favor. The reason is the child should ask each individual to pay it forward to three people. Then, ask those individuals to do the same, each paying it forward to three people. The cycle of kindness and good deeds spreads fast this way, since mathematically, it takes only 10 new “sets” of people benefiting from it to actually reach more than 60,000 people. After 13 years, one would reach 2 million people.
It is amazing how fast kindness spreads if we all do our part to help.
The concept is simple and can be initiated by anyone with the intention of doing good. If you consider this, also do a favor for the person you want to help and cannot do it alone. Their gratitude will be greater and hopefully they continue the cycle of paying forward. Like it is said, it can be done by anyone, so why not you? Why not now?