We all know giving feels great. The rewards are countless. People look at you with more respect. The givee’s gratitude is soul quenching and sometimes the government will even give you a little kick back for all that generosity. What if though, what if you were challenged to do one thing every single day, for someone who couldn’t pay you back. A pay it forward act that couldn’t be celebrated. Would it feel the same? Does it matter? Let’s start a social experiment to see if giving’s intrinsic value is worth more than anything else. If you’re game, here are some ideas to get you started:
Anonymous donation: Having been the recipient of one these myself I can testify to the fact that it is one of the most authentically charitable things you could do. When our family received an anonymous cash donation in the mail there was no way we could thank the sender. There was nothing to even garner a clue to who our benefactor was. While I am not asking you send cash to someone in the mail, I am telling you that we still talk about that amazing generous deed regularly and the donor has no idea.
Rescue an animal: Arguably, the animal you rescue will pay it forward tenfold in love and adoration for the rest of its life but there will never be a thank you or financial retribution for all the hard work you’ll put in.
Okay, to be fair these first two things are not things that can be done on a daily basis but they had to be mentioned. Now, a few things that you can do each day to meet this challenge.
Leave the ‘good parking spot’ free for someone else: It’s a rare find, I know, but if you happen upon it, why not watch as the next person in line has a little good fortune.
Pay for the person in line behind you at the drive thru: They’ll smile the whole way home, or better yet, do it for someone else.
Add some change to an expired parking meter: They may never know you’ve saved the day.
Let someone merge during traffic: Come on! How would you feel if it was you?
Leave a treat on someone’s desk at work: Who wouldn’t love that? It doesn’t have to be expensive. A candy bar would make my day.
Refill the coffee maker, photocopier or paper towel: Hey, I didn’t say that had to be a big deal. Just a little something to make someone’s day run a little smoother.
Buy umbrellas, boots or winter coats for the Homeless: The elements can be harsh. Drop the items off a local shelter and take comfort in the fact that they’ll be put to good use.
Leave an extra large anonymous tip: Seriously, they’ve made entire films about this one.
Send some school supplies to your local elementary school: Save the teachers from spending their hard earned pay cheques on classroom supplies.
Clean up the park or playground: You don’t play there, but the neighborhood kids do. You’d be surprised what a coat of paint can do for a playground.
This list could go on and on but I will stop there to remind you that you can give in any way you see fit. Just try to do it at least once a day and try to do it for someone who can’t pay you back. I am guessing the value of this kind of giving might be the greatest of all.