This post’s intention is to inspire generosity.
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
— John Wesley, Letters of John Wesley
Stacey: It may sound contrived, but I am speaking my truth. When my twins were diagnosed with autism, it created a new reality that destined my family to require, and learn to accept a helping hand in so many different forms. Ego and shame had to be worked through to come to a place where help could be accepted and it came when I made a personal commitment to always pay it forward. Call it karma, call it balance or call it what you will, but I believe in every fibre of my being, that what I put out to the world would come back to me. And it has. You might think me unlucky sometimes because of the difficulties my family finds itself in, but we have been “gifted” in so many different ways, in the most surprising of ways. Rather than share all the different ways that I like to pay it forward, I would ask people to consider simply committing to finding ways to make this a part of your everyday life. Lend money, don’t expect it to be repaid. Buy groceries, donate an item or two from it. Receive a surprise gift, donate an item of your own. Come into some unexpected money, donate a sliver of it to someone else. Seek out businesses that are social enterprises. Generosity is not only contagious, but it feels so good!
Tara: Every year our family tries to find a way to support youth living on their own as they are leaving the foster care system. At 18 they leave “the system” as adults often without the luxury of having a caring adult to fall back on. If we can help them just a tiny bit to set out prepared for the world we hope that they can find success
Nic: Honestly, I pay it forward by treating everyone how I’d like to be treated. I know it sounds preachy and Golden Rule-esque, but that’s because it is. I find that people will often do the same for you once you begin to truly enjoy doing nice things for people; knowing you’d appreciate if they did it for you!
Ms. Devine: Having been the loved one of someone who was incarcerated, I have extended my support to other loved ones experiencing the despair, sadness and loneliness that that life comes with. Being a go-to in support groups has really been healing for me but, it has been a way for others to feel a little less alone. This year, I have also donated gifts for children whose parents are incarcerated so that their Christmas can be a little brighter during a really challenging time for these kids.
Amanda: Food bank donations – one can of my grocery shop. If I can afford to buy something, how can I afford not to give something? IMAGINE IF EVERYONE DID THIS ONCE A MONTH? (Or for those who can afford, once a week?) One, single item.
Allie: I try to help out my neighbours a lot. We help each other. Always ready to lend an item or a skill. Three of us are teachers with different skills so we help each other’s kids. We give each other’s kids hand me downs. Cook/bake randomly for each other. Share wine in the hot tub. I’ve supported my sister-in-law this fall through a very difficult decision she made to retire early from teaching. She has MS and just couldn’t fathom the idea of returning to work with the Covid risks. The board would not let her do her job from home. I listened to her tell me the same things many, many times. Her anxiety was through the roof in August/September. Sometimes I didn’t have a lot to give but I always listened.
Money is but one venue for generosity. Kindness is an even more valuable currency.”
— Alan Cohen
Liza: I love surprising people with treats! This might mean a surprise latte for a neighbour or surprise donuts for a friend or a coffee for a coworker, it is a simple way to make people really happy!
Deb: It might seem old and tired…but paying for the person behind me at drive-thrus. Putting more money in the parking meter than I will need, or giving someone at the clinic my paid parking slip if there’s time left and I only needed part of the time (maybe that’s not lela? Lol!). Letting people pull out of parking spots, or turn left in front of me if I am lined up at a stoplight (and sometimes even when I’m not, if it’s safe). Bringing little treats and leaving them in the staff lunch area (covid has kind of kai-bashed that one sadly). Letting people in front of me in the grocery line that only have a couple of items. Thanking every salesperson that serves me, always. Especially now when people are so revved up because of Covid delays everywhere. Bringing coffee or lunch for a stressed out staffer.
Lauren: I try to post about as many small and varied businesses, artists and people on social media as I can. When I am feeling a sense of despair, I try to offer physical or emotional comfort to someone else who may be suffering.
Michelle SB: My favourite way to commit random acts of kindness is through the LoveLetters2Strangers project (loveletters2strangers.com). I get a bunch of little note cards, and write messages of hope, love, and inspiration inside and then… I hide them in my community! Letters have been left in book stores, in banks, on park benches… left in urns, in stairwells and on the GO Train. I trust that whomever finds the note needed it; and sometimes social media shows us that our letters were found and moved people beyond recognition. It’s my favourite thing.
Fancy: I’m always looking for ways to help people out (and animals too)- I try to donate where I can, either money or things I may have at home. For example someone started a giving post in a community Facebook group I belong to where people are offering or asking for things they might need. I had a young mom come by my house today for a piece of furniture I had for her baby’s room.
A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
— Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
I’m trying my best to pay it forward by dealing hope and sharing stories & tips on caregiving and how to survive hard things. I blog a lot about single parenting my adult twin sons who both have autism, and the challenges we face in surviving the everyday challenges and planning for a future full of unknowns.