Journey 118: PAY IT FORWARD

One of the many constructivist classroom setting in a film was contained in the 2000 film top billed by Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment, the kid in the film of Bruce Willis’ Sixth Sense. The film was appropriately titled “Pay it forward” which pertains to an idea of a seventh grade pupil who was able to make an idea into a rewarding and heart-warming movement that has spanned over many states in Continental America and has touched far more people and their lives were altered or change into the better because of the idea of one 12 year old boy.

Being an avowed supporter of the Constructivist Thought and Theory in educational management, the film illustrates the greatness when a teacher encouraged pupils and students alike to search for solutions to the ills of the world which is based on their own experiences and prior perceptions and mostly, these solutions are incorporated with their own experiences which is far different from the textbooks and reference books.

The film speaks of the idea of “paying it forward” which I believed, if practice in our society, there will be little problem and peace will be felt. There will be less tension and harmonious co-existence will deepen social interaction of men and women. Pay it forward uses kindness and the spirit of generosity of men to the limitless opportunities for similar kindness and generosity towards others. It will create an atmosphere where men, when in the spur of the moment will extend help and expect something in return but expects that similar or much greater service will be extended “forwardly” to others. In this philosophy, help is not a cycle but a linear experience wherein all the lives of people, influential or ordinary is linked together because of the experiences they extend to those who are in need.

The philosophy is simple. Once you help someone, don’t expect something in return but encourage the person you have helped to show kindness and generosity the way you have shown him to others whom he met. In this practice, there are no strangers and all are co-equal in the thread of human kindness. We are, in a way, paying it forward and not pay me back.

Sad to say, I observed, as many of you might have also observed that men and women around us are able to extend help to those whom they think can help them in return. We always think that our kindness and generosity is something that can be translated to future favors or of monetary value. This is one of the imported culture that has been very prominent in Filipino society that is constricting us to grow maturely and make use of our God-given blessings and opportunities for the good of our immediate community and others. By undertaking this, we are not making ourselves heroes because no one claims to be one but in our small gestures, short smile and tap of a shoulder to someone grieving, disappointed and at lost means so much that no amount of gold can even replace or buy.

This film taught me that not all things on earth can be so grandiose to make an impact to society. We don’t need to be the president of a nation to effect change because as the 12 year-old Trevor (Osment) in the film argues, that his philosophy of “Pay it forward” gives chance to bad men to do good and change. Even in our own offices and schools, we can be an exponent of change and harmony with our kindness and generosity. Show faith in men that whenever they received something in kindness and generous spirit, they will be able to make similar acts of kindness to others. In this context, “utang na loob” will be passé and “pay it forward” will make room for change in us, our society and our battered nation.

This is a story of simple acts of kindness that has reached and touched people’s lives immensely without us knowing it. Yes, it is possible for an idea to change the world.

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