December 14, 2012, was a day that I truly will never forget. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary sent shockwaves through our country. The thought of someone mercilessly taking the lives of humans, especially children, leaves us questioning everything and everyone. I was left with a sense of sorrow that, up to that point, I had not felt at school. I believe that day changed so many of us as we all saw the overwhelming need for compassion in our world.
I recently came across Ann Curry’s 26 Acts of Kindness Challenge. She set this up as a way to pay homage for the 26 lives lost on that fateful day. It’s a tribute to Victoria Soto, the teacher who tried to shield her class from bullets; Ben Wheeler, the little boy who loved his big brother and lighthouses; Daniel Barden, who had dreams of being a firefighter; and Emilie Parker, who loved the color pink and her grandfather. Curry wants everyone to go out and perform acts of kindness, big and small, for others as a way to keep the memory and spirit of these incredible people alive.
When I saw this, I was touched and immediately wanted to join in the challenge. Here is the thing about me though; I hate to do anything worthwhile alone. I always want people to join in with me, and that is what I am challenging all of you who read this to do. Let’s pay tribute to these brave heroes who were taken away from this earth too early.
It doesn’t take money or an absurd amount of time. It just takes some compassion and desire to brighten the day of someone else. It is holding the door open for someone and wishing them a great day. It is taking a few extra minutes and cleaning the snow off the car of the person next to you. It is writing a letter to someone you love and mailing it off. It is thoughtfulness and empathy.
Let’s not let the memories of these incredible souls fade away. Let’s let them live on in the kind and compassionate acts that we do for others. When you perform an act of kindness, come back to this article and share what you’ve done with the rest of us. Kindness is the only thing that can change the world. Let it start with us.
Go be kind,