My mom and I share a similar passion: reading. In fact, over the years we’ve developed our own little reading club. “What page are you on?” has become a common question between us.
So it was no surprise a few years ago when she called me to tell me about a book that I HAD to read, a book about how one person has the power to change the world…all through simple kindness. The premise of the story is built on one of my core beliefs: that giving is contagious…that by helping one person, they’ll then feel inspired to help someone else…and so on and so on. To this day, Pay it Forward is still one of my favorite books. (Although quick side note: I’m actually not a fan of the movie. Trust me, read the book.)
And this concept is really the whole point of my blog. I’m hoping that by sharing my experiences of giving, of helping others, that you too will be inspired to do the same…and I’ll get back to this in just a bit.
But today I decided to not just hope to inspire someone else…today I made it a challenge. 🙂
In honor of my reading passion, my daughter and I took a little field trip to the library…and brought a few surprises with us.
First we stopped by the front desk with a special delivery. “We have books for you,” my daughter proudly told the librarian. I’ve loved including my three year old in some of my acts of kindness…generosity is a lesson that can’t be learned too early. The library accepts book donations and anything that they don’t put directly on their shelves they use for an annual book sale to raise money.
But now on to the fun…and to my challenge.
We headed to the fiction section and I pulled out a special book, Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel, Pay it Forward. I opened it and slid something inside…a dollar bill and a short note:
“Yes, it’s only a dollar. But now it’s your dollar. Use it to do something nice for someone else.”
The challenge is now on.
My daughter was thrilled when I told her that she got to pick out the next book. She walked down the aisles, carefully looking at all the book spines. Then her little finger reached out and pointed to one…”I want this one, Mommy.” The book title made me smile. Of all the thousands of books she could have selected, my little girl picked the one titled, Saving the World by Julia Alvarez. We picked a third book, did the same thing and then walked out of the library.
It makes me smile to think that it could be years from now before someone finds one of our dollars and reads one of our messages. But one day, someone will open one of those books and find a surprise…and a challenge. Can one dollar “save the world”…probably not. But I love imagining what those lucky readers will do with their new found money…maybe they’ll buy a cup of coffee for a stranger, toss it in a Salvation Army bin or graciously hand it to a friend in need. The chain of kindness has started…and I love thinking about how many links will one day be added.
So to you, reader of my blog…I’d like to give you the same challenge today. Do one nice thing for someone else…something unexpected….and ask that person to pay it forward. Start your own chain of kindness. One person, one act, one dollar…that’s how it begins.