Paying It Forward Every Day

This week’s post was originally posted on Girlmeetsgeek.com, but has great relevance to you.  I hope that you enjoy it!

Last Thursday (May 5), the world celebrated International Pay It Forward Day.  The day reminds us all to help our fellow man.  Why?  Just because.  Whether it was buying a cup of coffee for the next person in line or simply smiling at a stranger, the pay it forward principle is all about one thing: kindness.  The day was a success, but I’d like to encourage you to use this principle every day, not just when it’s a recognized celebration.  I challenge you to pay it forward at least once every day of the year.  You’ll be glad you did.

As I’m thinking about people who pay it forward, I can’t help but think about teachers.  Some of the best advice I have ever received came from a teacher.  In your job search, seek out the teachers and learn from them.  Teachers give so much, asking only for their students to be the best they can be.  The doctors, lawyers, astronauts, politicians (yes, even the President had great teachers), educators…basically everyone has a teacher to thank for where they are in life.  In keeping with the theme of Pay It Forward, this week follows suit – it’s Teacher Appreciation Week (May 23-27)!  Here are a few teachers that made me into the person I am today:

Ms. Bridgers – My Kindergarten teacher.  As a youngster, I was quite the handful.  In between keeping me from jumping off the tables with my friends, chasing the girls and sending me to the Principal’s office (which was often), she encouraged creative problem-solving.  My favorite part of class was the “listening skills” portion.  She’d read from a lesson and we would have to apply our listening ears to solve the problem.  I have used this every day in my life.  Thank you, Ms. Bridgers.

Mom  – My mom is a Family & Consumer Sciences (previously known as Home Economics) teacher.  Today, she teaches subjects that range from Parenting to Psychology.  She has taught me a lot of things from how to cook and bake (there IS a difference) to how to change a baby’s diaper, even how to sew.  All of these lessons that have proven to be very useful throughout my life.  She and my dad taught me that “if I fail to plan, I plan to fail.”  That’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way, but hey – that happens.

Ms. Welker – My junior high English teacher who opened my eyes to the world of classic literature, writing, speech and debate.  Perhaps even the inspiration for starting (and continuing) my blog, Ms. Welker continues to encourage me to use my talents to help others.  We still keep up on Facebook.  Whether that’s by inciting laughter, inspiration, motivation or just a little silliness by my arsenal of voices (from Kermit the Frog to Hank Hill), she taught me to be true to myself.

My wife – She is finishing her studies in elementary education and has a true passion for this field.  Every day she comes home with new excitement from her practicum teaching (Kindergarteners to 4th graders) that inspires me.  In fact, she’s the very source of inspiration for many of my blog posts.  The education system needs people like her: people who truly care about their students, who are there for the right reasons, not just the paycheck and summer vacation.  She has great potential and I’m excited to walk hand in hand with her as we embark on the journey together.

Think:  Is there someone in your life that has taught you a lesson you’ll never forget?  It may not be a formal teacher in the education system.  It doesn’t have to be.  In fact, some of the best teachers are those that you encounter every day like friends, parents, grandparents, mentors, etc.

Don’t underestimate the power of learning.  One last challenge:  Strive to be a teacher in life.  Lead.  Help someone in need.  Pay it forward.

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