You think that
because you understand ONE,
you understand TWO,
because one and one makes two.
But you must understand AND.
- Sufi proverb
“Pay It Forward” is a book written by Catherine Ryan Hyde, but it’s also an action plan within a work of fiction. Since the book was released in January of 2000, a real-life social movement has emerged worldwide. What began as a work of fiction has already become much more.
Reuben St. Clair, the teacher and protagonist in the book “Pay It Forward,” starts a movement with this voluntary, extra-credit assignment: THINK OF AN IDEA FOR WORLD CHANGE, AND PUT IT INTO ACTION.
Trevor, the 12-year-old hero of “Pay It Forward,” thinks of quite an idea. He describes it to his mother and teacher this way: “You see, I do something real good for three people. And then when they ask how they can pay it back, I say they have to Pay It Forward. To three more people. Each. So nine people get helped. Then those people have to do three each. So it becomes twenty-seven.” He turned on the calculator, punched in a few numbers. “Then it sort of spreads out, see. To eighty-one. Then two hundred forty-three. Then seven hundred twenty-nine. Then two thousand, one hundred eighty-seven. See how big it gets?”