Learning How to “Pay it Forward”

By Sabrina Bong — When I was in high school, I really enjoyed the movie “Pay it Forward.”

For those of you who have not seen this movie, I would strongly recommend it. Haley Joel Osment plays a young boy who, for a class project, decides that he is going to spread kindness to others. He explains that if one person reaches out and helps three people, and those three people “pay it forward” and each help three other people, kindness could spread exponentially. It is an inspiring story, and one that teaches people a great lesson about reaching out and making someone else’s day.


Recently, my fiancé and I performed random acts of kindness to celebrate our two-year dating anniversary. Some of our random acts of kindness included putting coins in arcade games so kids could play for free, paying for the person behind us in the drive-thru, and leaving anonymous, inspiring notes in books at the local bookstore. When I told some of my students about these random acts of kindness, they were excited to learn what random acts of kindness were. After explaining to them that these were acts that you do to make people’s days better, they decided that they wanted to perform random acts of kindness as well.

It touched my heart to hear their enthusiasm and how they wanted to help people in their school. Once they began coming up with ideas for school, they wanted to come up with ways to extend their good deeds to the rest of the community. Many said they wanted to share the concept of random acts of kindness with their families as well, especially since it is the holiday season.

Listed below are some of the ideas my students have been come up with to make their school a happier place!

1. Put post-it notes on people’s lockers, telling them how they are great friends!

2. Pick up litter in the hallways so the janitors don’t have to.

3. Leave your teacher a kind note.

4. Donate toys to the toy drive.

5. Buy a best friend a treat at lunch to surprise them (at first, my students wanted to do this anonymously and leave the treat on their friend’s tray, but I said that could be suspicious.)

6. Write a thank you note to one of the secretaries for all the hard work they do!

7. Pick up all the trays in the cafeteria so the lunch ladies don’t have to do it.

8. Leave a note for one of the lunch ladies thanking her for everything she does!

9. Help a friend with their homework.

10. Help clean up the classroom at the end of the day.

11. If a friend forgets to log off of their computer, log off for them.

12. Stand up for someone who is being bullied.

(Fun fact: Several of my students also said that an act of kindness would be mediating a fight between friends so Ms. Bong wouldn’t have to. Their thoughtfulness and sense of humor always makes me smile! I wouldn’t trade this job, or my students, for the world.)

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