Paying It  Forward

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“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” ~ William Shakespeare

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson*

“An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.” ~ Lydia M. Child

"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." ~ (Gal. 6:7)

Support yourself and others at the same time! You can help yourself and help those in poor communities help themselves, too! 

Whilst you help yourself change, you can help bring about changes in the world, in a tangible way, at the same time. 5% of the proceeds raised from your purchases from SelfHelpPsychology.net will be donated to Oxfam’s ‘Aware’ giving program. This money helps fund long-term projects in poor communities in mostly third world or “developing” countries, and in Indigenous Australia, to help provide health clinics, clean water, and schooling, and helps them protect their rights, livelihoods and the environment.

Oxfam, a not-for-profit secular aid organisation, works in partnership with local communities, helping those most in need across 27 countries in the Pacific, Africa and Asia, where people are given a "hand up" rather than simply a "handout". With our support, people are able to grow more food, educate their children, and enjoy better health and opportunities.

Our donations help create real, lasting change in the lives of others less fortunate, by helping their community help itself. Oxfam, like SelfHelpPsychology.net, is committed to helping people help themselves, and bring about long-term change. The following is an excerpt from Oxfam’s website (http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/helping-people-help-themselves).

Helping people help themselves

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Photo: Tom Greenwood/Oxfam Photo: Debbie Yazbek/Oxfam

“The best people to help poor communities are community members themselves. That's because no one understands their problems better than they do. Poor people can take control, solve their own problems, and rely on themselves – with the right support. That's where we come in.

Helping people help themselves is about realising people's right to earn a secure sustainable living. We do this by giving people the skills, tools, confidence and access to markets they need to fulfil their potential and work their way out of poverty.

Our vision is of a fair world in which people control their own lives, their basic rights are achieved and the environment is sustained.”

* Research has shown that there is scientific truth to the old adage that in helping others we help ourselves. Research has found that those who do good deeds for others experience less stress and anger, and feel more positive and self-confident. Even simply thinking about helping other people boosts your emotional and physical wellbeing (including boosting your immune system). It has also been found that good deeds have a positive chain reaction effect, with beneficiaries of the deeds feeling more motivated to help others themselves (thus 'paying it forward'). 

"I Created You"

One day, as usually, an orphan, a little girl, stood at the street corner begging for food, money or whatever she could get. Now, this girl was wearing very tattered clothes, was dirty and quite dishevelled.

A well-to-do you man passed that corner without giving the girl a second look. But, when he returned to his expensive home, his happy and comfortable family, and his well-laden dinner table, his thoughts returned to the young orphan. He became very angry with God for allowing such conditions to exist.

He reproached God, saying, “How can you let this happen? Why don’t you do something to help this girl???”

Then he heard God in the depths of his being responding by saying, “I did. I created you.”

"Green peas and red marble (The richest man in Idaho)"

During the waning years of the depression in a small Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller’s roadside stand for farm fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce, and bartering was used extensively.

One day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I could not help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?”
“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admiring’ those peas, sure look good.”
“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”
“Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla time.”
“Good. Anything I can help you with?”
“No, Sir, jus’ admiring them peas.”
“Would you like to take some home?”
“No, Sir. Got nothing’ to pay for ’em with.”
“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”
“All I got’s my prize marble here.”
“Is that right? Let me see it.”
“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”
“I can see that. Hmmmmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”
“Not zackley...but almost.”
“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble.”
“Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.”

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, “There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he does not like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps.”

I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts. All very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

“Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about colour or size ... They came to pay their debt. We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.”

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.