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.