Pay It Forward

The other day, I watched a movie called “Pay It Forward” released in 2000. I love it not only for the story but also for the Nevadan air in the movie, which reminds me of my sweet & bitter memories of college life.


Instead of “paying it back,” you “pay it forward,” which means do good not to the person who did good to you (which is still good), but to a totally different person. Doing great things like in the movie might be a little hard, but we can “pay forward” more naturally when we do it for the next generation.


Oftentimes, watching children flashes me back to my childhood memories, or rather, the emotions I had as a child. Such emotions give me a good clue in making decisions and handling different situations. I WAS a crying child and unable to control my tears or express my feelings well, but now those memories help me when I work with children.


I remember one time I couldn’t say sorry to my mother (don’t remember about what); and even though I knew I had to say it, I couldn’t. I was hoping that she’d give up on me but she didn’t; and kept asking me for an apology for quite a long time. After practicing it what seemed like a 100 times in my mind, I could finally utter a quiet “I’m sorry.” I thought she’d add some more lecture on whatever I did, but she just smiled contentedly. For her, the most crucial thing was the “I’m sorry,” as she knew I was a sensitive yet very stubborn child. I was thankful that she didn’t give up on me and worked on my difficulties.


Forgiveness is another thing we can pass on. Every time I have to forgive our students’ little mischiefs, problems, or even those little “accidents,” I am made humble that someone else had done the same a million times for me! I can only have such patience because of the gratitude I have in my life, I am reminded and in awe of the fact that many people worked anonymously in my life (to my sadness, I hardly remember any of my kindergarten teachers)!


In a way, maybe it’s a good thing that we forget about most of our early childhood details. We simply pay forward what we are given, remembering and praising the very best source of “good,” our gracious God. I pray that our students will receive His abundant “good” and joyfully “pay it forward” in the future.