Friday, March 7, 2008

Pay it Forward

"By how do we define a human being? There are a number of traits that distinguish human beings from other forms of life. One of the distinguishing features is that man has the ability to do chesed (acts of loving-kindness). Man can do for others even at the cost of his own comfort. With the exception of pets who may adopt human traits, animals are incapable of sacrificing themselves for the benefit of others. No tiger has ever left over a carcass so that a hungry jackal might have food.
All living things act in their own interest. Man can be unique in one of two ways. (1) He can sacrifice his personal comfort in order to help others. (2) He can alter his character so that other people's discomforts become his own. Even if one does not achieve the latter, the minimum criterion of humanity is to be able to set aside one's own comfort for the benefit of others."

Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski published these words in the Jewish World Review
His words brought me back to a Friday afternoon right after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. At the time I was the editor of community newspaper "The Windmill". Diamond Bar High School Counselor Tisa Shavers asked if the paper could be at the school the following Monday. Members of different groups on campuses within the Walnut Valley Unified School District would be phoning over the weekend. They hoped to raise $20,000 for the American Red Cross.
There was no one available to assign, so I took on the story myself. Arriving at the high school late that morning, it was clear that expectations had been exceeded. The "press prop" check tallied $51,000. However, by the time it was presented, the check was outdated. Over $68,000 was raised by the time the story was written later that day. In the words of Tisa Shavers, " Americans are the most generous people on earth."
The photo above was taken at the lunchtime pep rally. The joy is palpable. Not from anything those kids received. From what they gave. They "paid it forward".

Pay It Forward Challenge.
So it was a happy circumstance when on one of my favorite blogs- http://sitteninthehills64.blogspot.com/ was posted: "Here's a chance to get a surprise from me, on a surprise date, in the next 365 days. I'm responding to this through Rachel's Blog: Sliding Through Life....Some lovely surprise will be coming from her to me in the next 365 days....!"

And now, I offer the same chance to you. The first three bloggers who let me know they want "to play" Pay it Forward: send me a note and offer the same opportunity to their readers, and sometime in the next 365 days, I will send the first 3 responders who follow these simple "rules" a gift- from me. If I don't know the contact info needed for me to do my part- you can send a note over as "anonymous" and I will read it without posting. Have fun!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lydia,
I just now read the March 7th blog. As you know we were busy on that date. I didn't understand the Pay Forward Challenge but I'm game, what ever it is!
I LOVED your piece about Diamond Bar HS!! What wonderful kids and what WONDERFUL and generous people Americans are!! Sooo proud to be an American!! DBHS is my ol stompin grounds that I dearly love!! I guess you already know that as I am the "Official Brahmamama"! LOL
XOXOT