Pay It Forward – #JPKBday Style

Another birthday has come and gone. And I have to say – it was a great one!

Yes, I had a cold all weekend.  Yes, the weather took a turn for the worse.  And yes, I spent most of the time in my house and in and around the campus.  Most people might not call this the most exciting day – but I loved every second of it.  After a whirlwind of traveling to professional conferences and presentations, this weekend at home was perfect (not to mention, good for my cold!).

But what made this birthday even more special were the many moments of kindness shown to me during a 24 hour time period. Oftentimes we take for granted the quick “HBD!” posts on Facebook, or the quick “Hope you had a great b-day!” texts from friends. If you find yourself doing this – stop.  In our fast-paced world, remember that someone took a moment, thought of you, and cared enough to reach out and show that they care.  Maybe they sent you a quick video, or left you a voice mail singing “Happy Birthday”, or better yet – sent you a link to a Weird Al Yankovic version of the song (you know who you are).  Still others took additional time to send you photos of fun times you had together, a personal message, an e-card, or posted a superhero graphic representation of how amazing they think you are.  Still others found personal and meaningful quotes to share with you about something that reminded them of you.  In our social media world – these are the cards, these are the phone calls, and these are the personal ways that others reach out and connect with you.

As I read through the kindness I received yesterday, in addition to my “thank you” posts and “likes”, I decided to pay it forward in a different way.  I counted the number of “Happy Birthday!” posts, tweets, phone calls, songs, videos, links, and verbal greetings I received, and donated $1.00 for each one of them to The Representation Project, and organization that “uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness toward change”.  And yes – repeats counted individually! 🙂

To me, this blends my passion for gender equity with the action of paying things forward. This also translates your kindness into the best gift I could receive – that of making a difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide. So thank you to everyone for your kindness, and know that every one of you helped to make not only my day, but hopefully the coming days for women and girls, something amazing and special, too.

With gratitude,

Dr. JPK

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