Paying it forward

Yesterday, January 7, 2018 was the 83rd birthday of our mother, Linda Pichay Mejorada. In the past, she celebrated her birthday by giving away bath towels, shirts, blouses, bath soap and chocolate bars to poor neighbors in our ancestral home in Barangay Inzo Arnaldo, Roxas City.

Mommy had always been a generous person. She loved giving stuff to family, friends and the poor. She never expected to be repaid for her generosity. But God certainly knows how to reward her for her kindness and generosity. At the age of 83, Mommy is still sprightly and strong, always eager to explore places for as long as her legs could handle the terrain. Mommy has had two surgeries on her legs and knees, one to reinforce broken thigh bones after she suffered a bad fall in the U.S. But otherwise, she still walks a lot even if she feels pain from her surgery.

Indeed, Mommy is a model for the principle of “paying it forward.” She helps people with no expectation of any returned favor. She loves to give for its own sake: helping people and making them happy.

She broke tradition yesterday. But still, her principle of “paying forward” was at the center of it. This time, she asked family and friends who came to celebrate her birthday not to give her gifts. Rather she appealed for their generosity to help a science teacher from the Capiz National High School who is scheduled to undergo a kidney transplant. And they did respond with overflowing generosity.

My sister, Jocelyn Welsh, who organized the fund-raising part of the celebration, had hoped to raise P50,000 to be given as financial assistance to Gilbert Ca-alam Galagate. The total amount chipped in by the guests and even those who were not able to join the party reached P49,500. Jocelyn pulled out another P500 from her purse to top it up at P50,000.

gilbert ca-alam galagate
Science teacher Gilbert Ca-alam Galagate poses with our mom, Linda P. Mejorada, my sister Jocelyn Welsh and myself after receiving the financial assistance of P50,000 raised during the mom’s birthday January 7, 2018

Our family didn’t know Sir Gilbert before. But the value of generosity taught by our Mommy made that an irrelevant issue. This is now about saving a life, a life made more precious because of Sir Gilbert’s passion as an educator. We are sure a successful kidney transplant will allow Sir Gilbert to continue teaching and helping produce more intelligent young boys and girls from the CNHS. By helping him, we are contributing to Sir Gilbert’s own ability to shape more young minds, which is perhaps the best contribution he can make to society.

In our lives, we should embrace this principle of “paying forward,” of giving more than taking. In his book, “Give and Take,” Wharton professor Adam Grant has shown evidence that “givers” tend to succeed better in life, in their careers and become richer than “takers”. In our younger days, we heard that “it is better to give than to receive.” It is not an empty phrase.

Jack Canfield, the best-selling author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” believes strongly in tithing. He advocates giving 10% of our income to our church or charity. And it’s not just money that we can give away. Time, too, in the form of service to others is a good way to practice this principle. “The best way to ensure an ongoing flow of abundance into your life is to share with others the wealth you receive,” Jack wrote in a guest column for Evan Carmichael’s website.

Tony Robbins, one of the world’ most popular motivational speakers, is actively pursuing a mission to provide 1 billion meals to poor families by 2025 as a way of giving back. His program called 100 Million Meals has already given 240 million free meals on just its third year.

Indeed, when you give and help without thinking about getting it back, God makes sure that you will be richly rewarded. In our own way, we have seen this happen to our family, especially our Mommy. At 83, she is still oozing with energy for travel and joins her children on tours around the world. She is blessed with an amazing life because of her kindness and generosity.



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