The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pay It Forward

When one person goes out of their way for another, without benefiting him or herself, true selflessness is revealed. I have lately noticed a shortage of people helping out other people because no personal gain is received in return. In many circumstances when people do something for the good of someone else in which they do not directly benefit, then it is not worthwhile. When I am able to eyewitness even a small hospitable deed done to help out a stranger, the effects of that action is visible on both of faces of the parties involved. Helping others in need produces gratitude as well happiness for the giver and the receiver, and if those feelings were to be multiplied worldwide it would improve the condition of humanity. Especially in a time like the present, if each person were to do something especially major to help out another person than the number of people truly in need would be significantly lower. I am a strong advocate of the Pay It Forward movement, which was first introduced in a novel, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, as an action plan within a work of fiction and also in the heart wrenching film in 2000 starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. Pay It Forward refers to changing the world one person at a time by the promotion of this theory: one person must do three different favors for three different people, these “favors” must be life changing and something that the person being helped cannot do by themselves, those three people must each do the same for three other people in need and so on. For me, this ideal seems impossible even for a small area of people to accomplish because of pride and selfishness but I do believe there is an alternative. I am not talking about forcing people to do favors for people, but collaboration.
When people collaborate to accomplish something significant it creates a lasting impression on the people involved as well as the result of their combined efforts. Recently, I recognized such an act of collective kindness by a group of older men who put their own personal struggles aside to help a stranger in need. This stranger is a young woman who had just came out of jail and was trying to get back into reality without a job or any money. These men used their individual resources and collaboratively got her a place to stay, a steady job, and some much needed support on all levels. These men had no debt to be owed, no guilty conscience they felt needed to be cleared, and did not benefit from helping this young woman. With the help of collaboration and humility from these men, this woman was able to turn her life around. If it were not for their helpful resources and willingness to help out a complete stranger in need this woman would have been lost in reality and possibly on the streets.
One of these older men was my father, and when I heard about this story it made me realize how much people have to offer other people in need if they can allow themselves to pay it forward. All they really had to do was reach out to someone who needs it and to put their self-involvement towards another persons self-improvement. We have so much to offer other people who are not as fortunate as we are, and I do not mean money. If people could learn to share what they have with people who are lacking, especially if they were to collaborate with other people’s resources, it would make the world go around much smoother. Could you imagine a reality where each established individual was required by law to help three other people get off the streets and change their life around? It starts with you… Pay It Forward.

Maddy Weese


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home