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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
                 Monday, August 4 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Pay it forward

This is not a movie review though it was inspired by a movie that was on TNT on Sunday. As it will be repeated twice this Thursday evening and twice again on the evening of Sunday August 17, if you missed it you may want to check it out. If you do, have Kleenex handy.

Pay It Forward is the movie's title, but it's worth considering because of the premise it's based on. The premise is: When you see someone in need, take time to help, even if that means significant sacrifice or generosity on your part. If you are pressed for an explanation of your generosity, tell them you're repaying a kindness someone gave you, and that if they have the opportunity or desire to repay this, do it in triplicate. That generates three acts of kindess to three other recipients of your gratitude. Then maybe they'll do three more generous acts, and each other of those nine will do three more, and in no time the ripples will be felt from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and even northern California (at least those are the perimeters the film mentions).

As a movie, it's similar to one of my (and many other people's) favorites: It's A Wonderful Life, the 1947 "Christmas movie" starring Jimmy Stewart that inspired Highway to Heaven, Touched by An Angel, and a whole industry built on angels, showing gratitude, and helping others. The message is in there, not too deep to find in Pay It Forward, that people don't know how much of a positive difference they make on lives of others, even the lives of strangers. The premise is reminiscent of a somewhat similar movement that had some currency a few years ago, which came to my attention indirectly via the Oprah show: doing random acts of kindness, an idea that got enough attention to get its own foundation and an impressive web site, but one that hasn't been updated since 2002, so perhaps random kindnesses have, like angels for now, turned into a fad that's past its peak.

It's also reminiscent of the book that was the best selling novel in American history, up until the Book of the Month Club came along in the 1950s and blew away all the previous book sales records. But even with the changes in book marketing techniques, it is still ranked as the 10th-most-widely-read book of all time. In His Steps, written in 1896 by a Congregational church pastor, Charles Sheldon, asked how much would the world be affected if just one person dedicated himself to not making any decision until he'd asked, "What would Jesus do?" The entire book is available free online, here, and an interesting article about its impact may be found here.

What idea(s) do you have for changing the world?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

A Texas farmer in Australia

A Texan farmer goes to Australia for a vacation. There he meets an Aussie farmer and gets talking. The Aussie shows off his big wheat field and the Texan says, "Oh! We have wheat fields that are at least twice as large." Then they walk around the ranch a little, and the Aussie shows off his herd of cattle. The Texan immediately says, "We have longhorns that are at least twice as large as your cows." The conversation has almost died when the Texan sees a herd of kangaroos hopping through the field. He asks, "And what are those?"

The Aussie replies with an incredulous look, "Don't you have any grasshoppers in Texas?"

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for today

Men who never get carried away should be.

— Malcolm Forbes

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