Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pay It Forward

My mom, Laura Gray Thompson, the lady with the slightly risqué sense of humor, also had a heart of gold. She was forever doing a good deed for someone with trouble or someone in trouble. Although our family could not afford an automobile, I remember when I was very young that we sent clothes to an impoverished family in The Netherlands. In the late 1950’s, she had a baby shower for an unwed mother, who had financial difficulties. Sadly in those days, an unwed mother was not readily accepted by the greater society. I remember another time that Laura volunteered to feed a traveling group of prisoners that included armed robbers and murderers. (These villains were part of a motivational program to encourage youth to live honest lives.) Furthermore, my mother befriended a young woman that was hospitalized for a number of years as a criminally insane patient.

When the unwed mother told my mom that she could never repay my mother’s kindness, my mother responded that the young woman might be able to do a good deed for someone else in the future and that was good enough for my mom. My mother did not really expect repayment.

The grand idea of paying it forward was popularized by the book titled, Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde and then in a movie with the same title. However, I think that the quote is an old one dating back to science fiction author, Robert Heinlein in his book, Between Planets. But maybe, this is an ancient idea supported by many cultures and many world religions as stated in The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Matthew 7:12. Maybe Laura did not actually say the words “pay it forward”, but she lived the concept and that is what counts.

20 Comments:

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like Laura was an awesome woman, and mother!

your lucky she was yours Molly :)

 
At 4:28 PM, Anonymous susan said...

Lucky you to have such a wonderful mother and example to learn from.

I do believe that the whole pay it forward concept has always been around. It just goes by different names.

 
At 4:52 PM, Blogger Margaret said...

My mom is just like that, and I try to be also. It makes me feel so good to do so. I think it does every bit as much for the giver as it does for the recipient.

 
At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been an AF family for so many years I'm a firm believer in what goes around comes around. We're all connected anyway....Thanks for visiting--loved your comment!

 
At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your mother sounds like a fantastic woman. I wish more people felt and thought like she did.

thankyou for coming over to visit.

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Isabelle said...

Thanks for your contribution to my terrible-names-for-children blog. My mum says that she's "going to see her auntie" when she means that she's going to the bathroom, by the way.

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger gawilli said...

What a cool mom you had and she was a great person to learn from. Agreed that these same ideals have been supported by many cultures and religions. In Buddhist scripture it sounds like this..."Consider others as yourself." Dhammapada 10.1 Neat, huh?

 
At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, mjd
And why is my comment gone?

 
At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Hope to 'see' you again.

It is amazing how our mothers shape the person we are today. Yours sounds like a gem!

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger debi said...

What a wonderful Mom you had. She reminds me of my own. She has been gone since 1982. Doing the right thing,sharing,showing kindness just for kindness sake, is such a wonderful feeling that it is addictive in some way. I very much enjoy family stories from you and Gene. As always I thank you for sharing.

 
At 9:38 PM, Blogger debi said...

Isn't it sad the way unwed mothers were treated not so long ago.? You got me to thinking.(careful now) Kids are in awe when I tell them of how girls were secreted away to the odd "auntie" and it was never talked about.This happened to my best friend and though she knew it was the right thing as she was only 15,the way it was done was pretty frightening and girls felt so helpless. I never like to see young unwed teens,just because I know what it takes to raise a child.

 
At 6:13 AM, Blogger Frema said...

"Paying it forward" is a much better concept than "paying it back." Unless it's money. :)

 
At 6:31 AM, Anonymous John said...

My father was like your mother. As an atheist he was the most 'Christian' man I ever knew.

 
At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What wonderful stories of your family, told with love, compassion, and reverence! Your mother sounds like a beautiful person.

Thanks for stopping by and, yep, isn't Ladyhawkeg great? It's one of the few movies I'll watch, then rewind and rewatch directly.

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

Indeed, paying it forward is simply something everyone should be able to do. I enjoy being a nurse, but I enjoy doing the extra things that make people feel better.even just doing a favour or something..you know what comes around at the end of it.:)

 
At 6:21 AM, Blogger Tink said...

All the book did was give a name to what was already being practiced. Your sweet Mom is proof of that.

 
At 3:31 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

I love this post so much.

Beautiful

 
At 6:02 AM, Blogger it's the little things said...

Wow - weren't you lucky!

 
At 10:35 AM, Anonymous TasterSpoon said...

And doesn't doing nice things make us feel better anyway? You're almost repaid on the spot. Or at least you get the interest on it.

 
At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She was my mom too, and yes she was a very giving woman, and we loved her for that. She also was very kind to Hungarian refugees who our church had brought to this country. I bet she got the helping nature from her mom, who helped many people in her church & later as a caregiver. She had been widowed since our mother was 16, and never got Social Security. However, she too was a very giving person, who lived with us off and on for many years. I have many wonderful memories of Grandma Gray, who would be 135 years old if she were alive today!
dreamsurfbetsy

 

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