Thursday, December 18, 2014

Re-Post of Paying it Forward - Lessons from My Father

I was originally inspired to write this post back in 2011 following a discussion about the "paying it forward" movement with a cynical colleague at the time. 

I was intrigued by her sense of frustration with the lack of appreciation she received from participating in this basic act of human kindness. She felt the need to be recognized for what she did. It threw me into a state of personal reflection and appreciation for ...
lessons from my father.

So, please allow me to re-post this for you.

I am presently with family taking care of a dear elder right now.
It is hard to post but I am trying to visit you all when I can.

So, in my absence, 
I hope this story will seem appropriate for you at this time of year...

Did you ever see the movie, Pay it Forward - the Power of Three.....
kinda emotional perhaps, 
interesting concept though, 
the power of numbers and exponential growth.  
It set me on a reflective course, back to my own childhood experiences.

As a child, I grew up with some pretty strong images of my own father paying "it" forward.  
I have a sharp picture branded into my memory of a road trip to Florida and a stop at the end of the day at a small road-side diner.  

In front of the diner, sitting on the blvd. was a homeless man.  
He impressed me, only because as a child from a small town where homelessness seemed non-existent.... I was unsure of him, afraid of the unknown. 
Homeless in campo formiom

My father, on the other hand, saw a person down on his luck, in need of a "wash-up" and a good meal.  
Before I knew it, my father was over at his side,

instructing him to get washed up in the restaurant 
and that a meal would be on its way to him outside.  

And then within minutes of that he was speaking to the manager 
and advising him (as only my father could do... at 6 feet 3)
to allow this man into the washroom to clean up.
And then to send him out a meal which my father would pay for. 

It all happened so fast.
I was worried that the man would be embarrassed by this quick action on the part of my father. 

And as a child I wondered,
Why wouldn't my father insist on him eating inside?

But, he knew, that this was about the man eating a meal, 
keeping his dignity and not being judged.  
I don't think he knew he was paying "it" forward though.

I had many more experiences like that, with my dad.
Sometime they were clearly thought out and were personally satisfying, 
like his work with Habitat for Humanity.
US Navy 080828-N-3271W-039 Navy Recruiting District Command Master Chief Donald Magnes cuts wood beams
By U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward
Sometimes it might have been all about his business. 
My father owned a hardware store, so giving John, a local First Nations man, a free bag of nails meant John would not need to steal them.

And there was the time he had me deliver and assemble a barbeque that was bought by an older woman that lived out in Craigleith on the shores of Georgian Bay.

Hohenossig (Krostitz), the country home "Antique"
By Dguendel
 Or the time that I took back the repaired lawn mower to Mrs. Kinsey down the street with instructions to cut her lawn so she would be convinced that it worked.

You see, 
I think that a lot of us have been unknowingly subjected to this design, 
the concept introduced in that sappy film,  The Power of Three.  

I believe that random acts of kindness are what we teach our children when we lead them to an understanding of the necessity 
to care about those around them 
and to be involved.  
The notion that simple goodness 
can multiply... 

Yep, I am pretty sure that he knew what he was doing.
In each of those instances, and the many more that are slowly creeping back into my memory.

I believe he knew that this was simply part of life....something you do.  
I know he did not expect to have it ever come around again, to benefit him in any way but it was simply that.....

A Random Act of Kindness...  

but all kinda easy when you think about it.
And of course there is no time like the present.

 Viborg Christmas street illumination 2010-11-30


  1. I love this! What a great man you learned from!

  2. You are blessed to have had such a wonderful father. :)

  3. Beautiful post Donna! I remember the movie. I think it started a 'movement' of sorts to remind people in our busy world to be kinder and the importance of 'serving' others. You are blessed to have such wonderful memories of your father. Thanks for sharing this post as I didn't follow your blog in 2011. Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. Hugs. Pam

  4. Olá amiga, hoje quero agradecer a Deus pelo dom da sua vida, e desejar a você e sua família
    um feliz e santo Natal, cheio de saúde e alegria!!!
    Que seu coração esteja preparado para receber o Menino Deus!!!
    Um grande abraço, Marie.

  5. Such a great, timely post. Wishing you a lovely Christmas. I do hope your family member is okay. Patty

  6. A lovely post, what an inspiring man your father was.

  7. Such a nice post, how wise and lovely of your Dad.


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