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Plotting My 3 Big -Pay It Forward- Acts of Kindness

chris knight

05-10-2004 07:46:15

Recently I saw the movie Pay It Forward and the premise of the movie is to see the impact of acts of kindness where the payback is refused and the request is to pay the favor forward to 3 people...creating a domino effect of people doing kindness for each other without any expectation to receive back directly.

I'd highly recommend seeing the movie if you have not yet.

Here is an editorial review of the movie from Amazon.com
Editorial Reviews (Amazon.com)
Pay It Forward is a multi-level marketing scheme of the heart. Beginning as a seventh-grade class assignment to put into action an idea that could change the world, young Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) comes up with a plan to do good deeds for three people who then by way of payment each must do good turns for three other people. These nine people also must pay it forward and so on, ad infinitum. If successful, the resulting network of do-gooders ought to comprise the entire world. Trevor's attempts to get the ball rolling include befriending a junkie (James Caviezel) and trying to set up his recovering-alcoholic mother (Helen Hunt) with his burn-victim teacher (Kevin Spacey), who posed the assignment.

While this could have turned into unmitigated schmaltz, the acting elevates this film to mitigated schmaltz. By turns powerful and measured, the performances of Spacey, Hunt, and Osment can't make up for the many missteps in a screenplay that sanitizes the look of the lower-middle class and expects us to believe that homeless alcoholics and junkies speak in the elevated manner of grad students. (Can that really be Angie Dickinson as Hunt's dispossessed mother? Yes, it is!) The germ of the story is a good one, though, and one may wonder how it would have been handled by the likes of Frank Capra, who could balance sentiment with humor. But clearly Capra would never have let the ending of his version to take the nosedive into cliché and pathos that director Mimi Leder has allowed in this film. More than a few viewers will also recognize that Leder has blatantly borrowed her final image from Field of Dreams, where its intended effect was more keenly and honestly felt. --Jim Gay

It's not a new concept, but one that should never get old.

So this week, I'm plotting who are going to be my 3 big acts of kindness. Small acts of kindess are easy to do and part of my daily life, but big acts take some planning.

Have you ever done this before (3 big acts of kindess with no expectation for return)? What were your results?


05-10-2004 14:37:47

I also saw the movie and I strive to always try to do this in every situation I encounter. Very good movie and most importantly, a signifcant message was included. Like Albert Schweizter said, "Example is not the main thing in influencing others ... it's the only thing." This was clearly a positive example for everyone who saw it. I constantly try to keep my ego in check and remember to do things without recognition. It makes me feel warm inside. Truly. This, like anything, becomes easier after awhile and I know our sincere desire to change the way we are will eventually become habitual behavior - and reinforcing of a specific mode of being is important for each of us.