Kindness is the 5th part of the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Before I write anything, I always ask the Lord to help me and I love how He inspires. I learned an old Anglican prayer from Dr. Barry Black and Alistair Begg that reads, “I want to think myself empty, I want to write myself clear and I want to pray myself hot,” while asking the Lord for His guidance. As soon as I was done praying, the Pay it Forward concept came to me. He is good! I can’t think of any other topic that portrays kindness in the classroom better. In today's world of technology and gadgets, we need human kindness. The concept of Pay It Forward (as developed in Catherine Hyde’s novel) is simple. It begins with doing an act of kindness for someone without any expectation of being paid back. Instead, the recipient of the kindness is encouraged to “Pay It Forward” to three others with the same expectation that the unconditional kindness will be paid forward. The unconditional kindness can be large or small, depending on the interest and age level of the giver. Catherine Ryan Hyde, in her novel “Pay It Forward” about a 12 year-old boy who accepts the challenge of his teacher to change the world, is the springboard from which the Pay It Forward Movement began. Trevor’s idea was to choose three people for whom he will do a favor or act of kindness. When the people thank him and ask to pay him back, he tells them that they are to “pay it forward” instead to three more people. It’s nothing less than a human chain of kindness and good will.
Catherine Ryan Hyde established The Pay It Forward Foundation in September 2000 to educate and inspire students to realize they can change the world and provide them with opportunities to do so. The Pay It Forward Foundation is a small, mostly volunteer organization with a powerful heart and gift to educators. They provide Pay It Forward grants, ideas to share and an excellent website with success stories. The Pay It Forward Foundation has trademark rights to the term, “Pay It Forward Foundation.” The idea of “pay it forward,” however, is in the public domain and the foundation encourages all who want to promote the concept of paying it forward to do so. The Pay It Forward movie and website are property of Warner Brothers and the novel, “Pay It Forward”, is copyright property of Catherine Ryan Hyde. She has now given the reigns over to a young man named Charley Johnson. He developed the Pay It Forward bracelets and has distributed hundreds of thousands throughout the world. He's spoken at TED twice and is about to do his third. Here are three samples: the story behind Pay It Forward bracelet, Global Reading Flash Mob of Pay It Forward, Charley Johnson on TEDxBountiful.
In April 2005, I developed a “Pay It Forward” presentation for students of all ages which encourages students to create their own movement with their families. I have presented the lessons for hundreds of children from kindergarten to college and in very large group settings and even churches. I have an annual date with one of my daughters who is a teacher on the Friday before Thanksgiving to present the concept to their families around the Thanksgiving table. If you are interested in a presentation for your classroom, just contact me. There’s no charge for a Pay It Forward lesson, you only need to agree to pass it on!
Pay It Forward Day is April 30th each year. An Australian group is hoping this will become a worldwide event. Check their website at www.payitforwardday.com for more details and ideas on how to Pay It Forward!
Let’s face it, our classrooms can use a whole lot of kindness. Why not make a commitment to raise the kindness level in your classroom this year and teach your students not random acts of kindness, but purposeful and targeted ways to be kind to others? Order the Pay It Forward bracelets for your students and as they do an act of kindness, they hand to bracelet to the person and encourage them to pass it on. Simply beautiful!
Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.