Pay It Forward

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Pay it Forward
Jennifer Trager
University of Phoenix
PSY/490
Instructor: Vicki Koenig
November 25, 2011

Pay it forward is becoming a more popular phrase it seems. When you drive through towns and different communities, one can see signs for soup kitchens, volunteer services, etc. There is something about the idea of giving back to others that is not only for the one receiving, but also beneficial to the one doing the work behind it. This idea is considered altruism and is driven by a want to contribute to someone else’s life instead of focusing on what one can get from others.

There once was a movie called “Pay it forward” about the whole idea of doing something for someone with the only stipulation being to do something for someone else. Once, Oprah did a show on random acts of kindness and the reactions of those receiving these acts. Currently, it is the holiday season and it might be safe to assume that these acts of kindness might be more in the making. Some of these acts could include carrying someone’s groceries to their car, buying someone a cup of coffee at the local convenience store, or even paying someone’s check at a restaurant. Personally, one of my favorite things to do is pay the toll for multiple cars on one of our major highways. I enjoy this most because I am unable to see their reactions and I hope that they would “pay it forward” also. Although I am not there to see their reactions, there have been moments when people have sped up to wave to me or mouth a thank you, which is nice even though these are not things I look for in doing this.

Some might suggest that the idea of altruism can be based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model. This idea suggests that there are fundamental drives behind people’s actions. While the first two stages might suggest a more selfish need due to the idea of meeting one’s physical needs such as food, shelter, etc. and the second stage is security and the idea that one’s needs will be...
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