Pay it Forward--A Simple Concept

By: John Correll

 I sit back sometimes just to observe and listen. I wonder if people observe the things I do or do they just close their eyes and ignore what’s going on around them. Most people just don’t want to get involved.

 Take the man standing on the corner, sign out, stating “will work for food” or the old lady pushing the shopping cart because she has no place to go. That child standing there crying for something to eat because Mom has no money or Dad comes home every day wondering where the money is going to come from, because there is no work to be found.

 Life ain’t easy, right? Why do we argue over petty things? Why do we walk by when someone is in need? What is wrong with helping one another? It sounds so easy doesn’t it? But it’s so hard to apply ain’t it? Think about it…

Let’s take simple concepts.

What if all people grew gardens—would there be enough food to eat?

If we took our old stuff and gave it to someone in need—would we be without?

If we took old buildings and fixed them up; gave people a place to sleep—would people be homeless?

 If we were to listen to someone instead of listening to ourselves talk—would it really cost us anything?

 Would simple concepts like these change our lives? Think about it…

 What if we applied the concept of Pay It Forward from the movie starring Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment and Helen Hunt?

[Synopsis written by Jim Bequer (jumblejim@prodigy.net): Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother’s alcoholism and fears of his abusive and absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment is thinking of a way to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward—repaying good deeds not with payback, but with good deeds done to three new people. Trevor’s efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him.]

You find three people in need and help them—but you ask them not to pay you, but to pay it forward to three others and ask them to do the same.

Now, if we took this concept and put it into action, can we as individuals come together to bring a change in the harsh world of today?

It’s simple to extend our hand to help others. Why don’t we always do so? Remember your voice and actions have meaning—why not use them for a more positive objective?

Make a change and Pay It Forward.

Copyright Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Street Chronicle published April 2011 Cleveland, Ohio