Fun lessons your kids will appreciate doing, just because.
A friend posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago: “Pay It Forward, 2013. The first five people to respond to this will receive a handwritten letter from me some time this year. It might be accompanied by a homemade gift....” The catch? In order to participate you had to repost this on your wall and promise to do the same to the first five people who responded to you. I was in. I love the idea of doing something nice for friends and strangers, “just because.” Passing on a little goodness with a personal note will be a super fun challenge.
The kids and I had so many ideas of how to give during the holidays and only a few chances to actually do so. December is so darn busy. I shared ideas I had read about, such as walking down the street and feeding parking meters, paying for the person behind you in a drive-in or Starbucks line, or taping quarters to vending and toy machines around town. I told them about my Pay It Forward challenge and asked them to join. We brainstormed ideas as we made some bread for dinner that night. We ended up with four small loaves of bacon cheese bread. Luca casually said that we should give some to the teachers. I made a new batch of our favorite salad dressing, which always makes a bit more than actually fits in our salad-dressing bottle so I stuck some in a little Tupperware. We had a ton of bean and barley soup in the crock-pot…
It was so obvious. We had our first Pay It Forward staring right at us.
We decided to surprise one of my participants, a preschool teacher at Mid-Pacific Institute with lunch the next day and a note from me. We packed a couple of containers of soup, a salad with dressing on the side, a loaf of yummy bacon cheese bread and a gooey pumpkin bar (it occurred to me that the kids know this person well and could have easily written it themselves. Next time, I noted). My daughter dropped it off at Pay It Forward No. 1’s classroom the next morning and we got a thank you email from the teacher that night.
We’ve been making preserves from our garden fruits lately and just made some lilikoi lemon butter. We also baked loaves of banana bread. A loaf of banana bread, a jar of lilikoi lemon butter and a note went to Pay It Forward No. 2. This time the kids wrote their own notes. They were short and simple, but they were handwritten notes.
Pay It Forward No. 3 received our peanut butter bread and raspberry fig jam. We threw in a box of chocolates since it was her birthday. The kids did not know this person but were able to think of nice greetings. I taught No. 3’s kids ages ago at Epiphany School. She used to bring me lunch so it’s kind of like paying it forward and backward. No. 4 also received peanut butter bread and some strawberry fig jam. She has two kids so we added some scented Valentine’s Day play-dough.
We’ll surprise No. 5 with something yummy we find on Pinterest. We find many foods that look fun to make and eat, but would be dangerous to have laying around so we often bake them, taste them, and take the rest to the firemen at the station down the street. I have a No. 6, because who can say “no” to someone who wants to Pay It Forward? This person lives in Vienna, Austria. We will see her this summer in Michigan so we can give her some goodies and a nice note. She was a best friend from childhood whom I have not seen in almost 30 years so this could be the most fun note of all. In fact, I’ve already started the draft!
The kids have been thinking of ways to Pay It Forward with the neighbors. They LOVE the idea of taping quarters to the gum, candy and toy dispensers that they see near some supermarkets so we will be sure to try that soon.
I think it is safe to say that once we Pay It Forward to the six people who responded to my post, we will keep on going!
Got some great Pay It Forward ideas? I’d love to hear from you.
Michele Aucello and her husband Kevin live in Maunalani Heights with their children Isabella and Luca, nine chickens, and the occasional elf and leprechaun. You can reach MIchele via email, Facebook, or via her personal blog, Leprechaun Tricks. You can also follow her on Pinterest, where (shhhhh!) she gets many of her ideas.