Paying it…Around

29 Nov

In the country Laos, when a young couple gets married the entire family and community is invited to their wedding.  The couple is gifted with money given to them by each invited guest (this is why so many people are invited and then not turned away).  This money is meant for the couple to begin their life, and in a country that is economical remiss, one can understand the sacrifice of each gift.  The “catch” is, the next time someone gets married, you must then donate to them with interest!  Each gift is recorded in a registry and so throughout this community, these “gifts” are ever-shifting from family to family, couple to couple.  The gift, then, can be thought of as a community loan of sorts…giving into the circle which will eventually benefit everyone.  How does this relate to you?

Helping, and giving when someone is in need (whether it be charity, time, mentoring, etc) is not just for them.  It is giving your gift.  At some point in your life, you were helped by someone.  Someone who didn’t have to help you.  Some one edited your resume.  Someone bought you dinner graciously.  Someone gave you gas money.  Someone went above and beyond at their job to make an exception for you.  They gave their gifts.

Giving is the same as the wedding money, you’re donating not to that person, but to your environment.  You hope that your gift will make a difference to that person, and help them in some way that will allow them to be better; to live better.  People that live better are best for our environment, right?

In the movie A Beautiful Mind John Nash revises 150 year economic tradition set by Adam Smith.  Adam Smith said the best result comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself, right? Adam Smith was wrong! The message: Sometimes it is better to cooperate!

His revision stated that you yield the best results when you do what’s best for yourself AND the group.  We must always be thinking of the greater good.  Its a sad, and selfish American ideal that we are all individuals and only our island of influence matters, NO! We are all an ocean and your actions cause ripples, be accountable.  If you are taking from the community but not giving back to it, guess what?  Your children may not have the opportunity, especially if those around you think as you do.  Get involved in your community, and control the difference you make in it.  There is no “pay it forward,” we are paying it around, because eventually the blessings that we give come back to us.


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