As a professor and teacher for the last 15 years, every "Housel-alum" or student who took one of my classes, was the lucky recipient of what came to be known as the Housel Lifetime Guarantee (HLG). Basically, what the HLG meant to students was that for my lifetime, I would be there...for almost anything. The "almost" is because I simply couldn't offer financial assistance--no emergency cash for car repairs or help with tuition or bail money for those odd moments when a student would land in jail (it happens...). But I could be there to help with all forms of applications--including graduate school, transfers to other campuses, scholarship forms, financial aid forms, employment apps, resumes, cover letters--and of course, as you might imagine, I've been a perpetual reference/recommender for the last fifteen years for everything from jobs to apartment leases. Students whose homes were thousands of miles from campus had a place to come for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Passover, Chanukah, Easter--you name it. Once in a great while, I'd help a student with a week's worth of groceries when the situation called for it. Even being there to drive the day of a surgery or attending a doctor appointment. Heck, I've been doing this HLG-thing so long, I've gone to weddings, seen babies born, and have long-term meaningful connections with the majority of Housel-alums on the planet...even if those alums are in far-away places like Dubai or Hong Kong. And more than anything else, the HLG gave students someone to talk to--about anything. My guarantee was a promise to promote positivity in the world of every single one of my students...and I meant it.
Of course, as much as I give, I get a hundred times more. And most recently, I got to see the HLG in action with a kind of pay-it-forward momentum that was not only touching, but inspiring:
His name is Chris. And yes, he was a Housel-alum. I received a message from him, sent to his family and friends--something like 400+ people--giving an "oath" to each and every one of us that he would be there...for almost anything. Before he went on to explain what he meant, he "gave credit where it's due" and said he was basing his "oath" on the Housel Lifetime Guarantee.
Proud moment or what???
We often do good works in this world but rarely do we get to see the long-term results of those efforts...for a variety of reasons. I count myself blessed today because today, I've had the privilege of watching the next generation be born. I suppose that makes me old, among other things, but to be the grand-parent of TNG-giving makes even my wrinkles happy!
As usual, the teacher finds herself learning more from her student than he did from her--Chris didn't just make this "oath" to a specific population, he made it to EVERYONE he knew. That just ROCKS. And so does Chris....
As humans, we tend to shy away from making big promises like Chris's oath or the HLG and sometimes, even if we make that kind of promise, it's limited to a few individuals, like our immediate family. These types of promises are also largely unspoken. Announcing our intentions is left to things like marriage proposals or college applications when you "declare" a major. But why not declare to the people you care about that you'll be there for them--whether it's a group of 400 family or friends or 3,000 students. That, no matter what, you will listen, you won't judge, you will be supportive, and you will help in any way possible.
After reading new study results about the positive effects of caffeinated coffee on brain cancer, I made it a habit to stop by the local coffee shop before grocery shopping. The other day, an older gentleman couldn't find his wallet. I simply paid for his coffee while waiting for my own order. The man was surprised, as was the cashier. But I was more surprised at how no one else thought to do the same--I wasn't the only person there. If you've ever been to a coffee shop, one of the last affordable luxuries of the masses, you know how crowded it is--regardless of time of day. Everyone else waiting in line just sort of stood there, watching the poor man fumble nervously through his pockets--as if he were the latest in reality-show "entertainment." Why? When it is such a simple thing to take out an extra dollar or two? That man was never a student in my classes--and he didn't need to be for me to pay him a small kindness. That's what the HLG is all about, and now, I know people like Chris will be paying it forward by making positive waves in their own circles of family and friends. And who knows how far it will go? Maybe Chris will inspire someone else to do the same...and then another, and another ad infinitum...until our world is full of patient-kindness, full of mindful-generosity, full of joyful-connection.
So what are YOU waiting for??? Start paying it forward--even if you never "got" anything to begin with...who cares? Just do it.
You have the Housel Lifetime Guarantee that you won't regret it.