April 25th was International Pay It Forward Day.  The term “pay it forward” is well known from a movie in which a young boy tries to change the world as part of a class assignment.  He did 3 great things for 3 people in need and then they in turn were supposed to go on and pay it forward to 3 more people each.

While we did not have the time to plan anything huge to change a life, we decided to fill the day with tons of little things that might make others smile.  So we hit the streets of Maple Ridge armed with balloons and high fives.  

 

Check out this amazing list of all we accomplished:

      • we wrote encouraging positive messages on the sidewalks and streets
      • we left little toys and a card on the doorsteps of houses
      • we greeted everyone we met with a smile and a willingness to chat
      • we handed out stickers and pencils to kids we met
      • we visited local businesses and complimented them
      • we handed out balloons with positive messages on them
      • we organized a bottle drive as a fundraiser and are planning to donate the money to a local shelter or rehab center
      • we planned on picking up litter at the local park but we ran out of time (another time for sure!)

 

 

I’m so proud of the courage that my class   displayed in talking to strangers for an entire day.  They embraced this day of action with enthusiasm and pushed themselves to go outside their comfort zones to reach out to others.  

 

After we returned to the school we debriefed about the day.  One student said “It was awkward but it was also fun.  A lot of the people responded with a smile but they were also kind of confused.”  Many of the students commented on how open the kids were but how many of the adults refused the gifts or ignored them.  One student responded saying, “It was harder than I thought to try to make people happy.  I was enthusiastic at first but some people are kind of scary. I hope we made a difference.”

    

I hope so too, even if that difference is only in our class.  It made me wonder, at what point do we as adults become so closed off to the joy around us?  I want to always live life with the openness to embrace the world around me.

Have you ever given or received a random act of kindness?