How Kids Can Pay It Forward

"Pay it forward" is a great concept to teach kids. It helps to see the kindness-counts plan in action. MomSpeaker Erin Flynn Jay and her girls were recently PIF beneficiaries. Here's her story. 

On Thursday, I took my daughters to Stations of the Cross at a church in the Italian market area. My first grader is in CCD, and her teacher encouraged the kids to attend the Stations of the Cross service.

Walking home after the service, I decided to treat them to dinner at an Italian restaurant near my daughter’s elementary school for an early pizza dinner. I ordered waters, a small pizza and mozzarella sticks, since I had a salad made at home.

Our server brought out coloring books and the kids had fun coloring on the pages. I checked my phone for new emails. I took my youngest to the restroom, and then my older daughter soon followed. When we returned, I asked for the check and the waitress told me, “It’s taken care of. A man paid for it, one of our regular customers.”    

I was surprised by this random act of kindness. I posted this on my Facebook page, and a friend commented “Pay it forward.”

It makes you think. As parents, we often race through our days. We focus on making sure our kids’ needs are met and they are doing well in school. We may have work pressure, long hours and face burnout or exhaustion.    

A small gesture of kindness can really go a long way. It can lift someone’s spirits if they are feeling stressed. It’s important to ask ourselves, “How can I help my neighbor or fellow parent who I see struggling?”

“Pay it forward” has wide interpretations. If you are a successful businessman, it could be creating a scholarship at your alma mater. If you in an executive position, it could be creating jobs for your community. If you own a restaurant, you could invite your neighborhood out for a complimentary meal. Think big.    

Think of your unique situation and how you can best “pay it forward” to help someone else or others out. 

Erin Flynn Jay is a Philadelphia writer, public relations executive and mom of two young girls. Check out her blog, Mastering the Mommy Track.

Categories: MomSpeak