By Dana Lunden, FSA, FED
Pay It Forward
This time of the year usually brings out the best and also the worst in people. Bear with me as I explain. Having been a law enforcement officer for about 26 years (until I retired in 2010,) I had the opportunity to deal with people in a variety of situations. Most of the time these situations were not because little Johnny got straight A’s on his report card, rather he had received less than satisfactory grades and punched holes in the walls of his home when he and his parents fought. Or a number of other calls where these folks would have preferred I had not been called.
The holidays, not only Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, but basically all of them when families get together to celebrate, are a disaster waiting to happen for many families. Now one would think that a person would be happy to see a relative he or she hadn’t seen in a while, catch up on family news or whatever. But, you see, after all that happens, which may take 15 or 20 minutes (yes, there was a little bit of sarcasm in my typing) people start to wear on each other. They remember what was said or done the last time they were together. Slowly the anger and resentment builds. Once the boiling point is reached, well, you know what happens next. Arguments, fights, domestic altercations and worse occur and lo and behold, here come the patrol cars.
Yes, I have seen people at their absolute worst. And I have seen people at their best. I’ve been in a restaurant more than once and witnessed a patron pay for the meals of an older couple, the husband obviously a veteran and the look on their faces when the server told them “Thank you for your service and your meals were taken care of,” well, it was pretty emotional. What a wonderful thing to see and also do for someone else who isn’t expecting it and has no idea who their benefactor was!
Sometimes we may go to a restaurant and get great service; the server did his or her job very well and therefore we tip them very well. What if the orders were wrong, the service wasn’t great and it’s obvious that the server wasn’t having a great day. We don’t know what is going on in that server’s life. Instead of making their day worse by leaving them a small tip or even worse, none at all, what if we genuinely offer them a thank you, wish them a great day and leave them a fantastic tip?! That may make the difference between them being able to buy food for their table, help to pay their electric bill or buy their child’s school lunch. We have no way of knowing how much good it will do for that person. If it brings a smile to their face, that is worth it.
As people, we have the ability to change the way we “see” things, either in a positive light or in a negative fashion. As photographers, we have a unique ability to “see” people in a way a lot of others don’t or can’t see. Many people in this world cannot afford the services of a professional photographer to capture and record the way their families look at a precise moment in time. Or, when their children are confirmed or they score their first goal or base hit.
No matter what kind of event it is, life event, sports event, graduation, whatever, we as professional photographers have a unique ability to capture a myriad of events in peoples’ lives and make a real difference. Making a difference in peoples’ lives can be in a variety of ways. Maybe we can offer our services by volunteering at our church, that is a great start! How about volunteering our services at Hospice to provide a portrait of a loved one for the family or to cancer patients or for veterans? I’m sure if we brainstorm enough we can come up with a lengthy list of people in need who would appreciate a professionally created portrait. As members of the Professional Photographers of Middle Tennessee, we can not only make a difference in others’ lives but also our own by using our talents, knowledge, experience, expertise and God-given vision to do something good for someone else without expecting or accepting payment.
That is known as paying it forward.
Don’t forget, annual membership renewals are due on January 1, 2017! Visit https://ppmtonline.com to renew online