Often, I see the words “giving back to (fill in the blank).”  In fact, I instinctively used it in my blog heading.  It’s a philosophy from times unknown—to give back a part of what has been given to you.  I see it in third-world countries.  The older brother or sister pays for the education of a younger sibling, and the younger in turn pays for another sibling or a cousin.  It takes the burden off the parents, and promotes responsibility and gratitude for others.  It’s a win/win situation in many ways, and it builds character.

I have been typing up program assessments for the non-profit I’m a director for, The Rock, Salt & Light Ministry.  I was wondering about a way we could give classes in mastercrafts for the disabled and at-risk people in our community so they could make a little extra money.  Some could afford the classes, but many could not.  I thought about scholarships, but how to fund them?

Then I thought about the family practice of paying it back that I mentioned above.  How about calling it “Pass-It-Forward?”  For example, a person is given a chance to learn a new skill by a generous soul in the community.  When they finish, and sell the product, how about giving the proceeds as a scholarship to a new student?  It’s bound to build character and a warm feeling in that person’s heart.  And they come away with a new skill.  Of course, they could abscond with the proceeds and never be seen again.  But at what costs?  Guilt, hiding away from an ongoing support system, and the curse I put on them (just kidding!).

I believe giving back is just a modern way of describing a healthy attribute of humanity.  We care, we share, we unite.  The Bible tells us to be servants to one another, but that mental picture is uncomfortable today as no one wants to be a servant.  But from where I’m setting, if that would give a dose of humility to some of the arrogant people I come across, then I all for it.

Pass it forward can be as simple as giving a smile to someone you pass.  Before you know it, they smile back, and share it with the next person they meet.  Now that can make a drab day much brighter!