Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Teaching Your Kids To "Pay It Forward"

This past week my wife and I traveled north of our home about an hour to visit a popular air force museum, have lunch nearby and just leisurely enjoy the rest of the day. We had a great time and were taking our time heading home when we remembered seeing a pie store on the way up.
It caught our eye for a couple of reasons. One, we love pie. Two, it was located in a somewhat remote section of road and apparently only sold pies. We simply couldn't pass that up.

So we pulled in to the lot and headed through the front door of this small, attractive building. Inside we were not disappointed as we saw a couple of large pastry cases filled with homemade pies. Our mouths of course began to drool and we began talking about the kind of pie we would order to take home with us.

However, as we looked around the woman behind the counter said, "I'm just letting you know that we only take cash or checks here." Our enthusiasm immediately flatlined as we both knew that we rarely carry cash and we didn't have our checkbook. So we graciously told her that we would stop in next time and headed for the door.

A young thirty-something woman was in the process of getting her order filled and had taken out her checkbook to pay. Upon hearing our story, she immediately said to us, "Listen, I would be happy to write a check to buy your pie for you." Not sure what she was exactly saying I replied, "Well, thank you, but I don't have any cash to cover your check."

She then said, "Oh, no, I'll just buy it for you. I'd love to do that." Still stunned we stammered, "Well, okay, thank you so much. We'll have coconut cream."

Keep in mind that this woman didn't know us or our financial situation at all. We are at a time in our life when we don't have a lot of extra, but we aren't poor and obviously could buy a pie without having to skip dinner or go without gas in the car.

She apparently didn't care about that. She just wanted to pay it forward. Perhaps she's a very giving person, likes to serve others or just got a supernatural nudge at that point. We'll never know. What we do know is that she made our day and reminded us of the importance of looking for similar opportunities.

Yes, the common term these days is paying it forward. Maybe it is also just being nice or having a sharing attitude or being thankful for what we do have rather than wanting more. Whatever the case, we got a powerful reminder of how special it is to help others. 

I also thought again about how important it is to teach the younger generation to do that. Our society has so many more popular examples of demands for more money, fame and possessions that it's time we balance the ledger a bit and also model servanthood and giving more of what we have away. 

I found myself wishing that her children, if she has any, could have seen their mom helping us out. On the other hand, I imagine she shows them in other ways.

I'm looking for a similar opportunity this week. It's not that we don't help others like that. We love sharing what we have. But we got blessed by a stranger and it truly lifted our spirits. My guess it did hers too. How about joining in this week and making someone else's day. And if possible, let your kids watch.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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