I have put off writing about the Newtown, CT tragedy this week. I haven’t been able to put my feelings and thoughts into words. When I heard about the #26Acts of Kindness movement, I wasn’t sure. The idea is to do an act of kindness for each of the Sandy Hook children and faculty who were lost. I generally try to do acts of kindness as often as possible because I think it’s a simple way to create a cycle of positive energy. And I’m not talking about monetary acts necessarily, but the quick and simple things that can make someone’s life easier or brighter. The idea of somehow publicizing those things didn’t sit well with me, though. It’s just not why I do it. But then I thought of something that people sometimes say upon the loss of a loved one: "I’d like to believe that his/her life had meaning."
Imagine knowing that your loved one had inspired thousands of people to do just one good thing.
I think that’s a beautiful tribute. And so I’ll be consciously doing one good thing with each of the victims in mind. I invite you to join me in your own way.
It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. You can hold a door for someone whose arms are loaded down with gifts for their family. You can let someone merge into your lane. You can return your shopping cart in the parking lot. If you have more time and resources, go bigger. Buy someone a cup of coffee. Make a donation of things you no longer use. Volunteer your time. The THING doesn’t matter so much as the conscious decision to do it in honor of someone else. If it’s appropriate, let the recipient know that you’re doing something in honor of someone specific. Invite them to pay it forward.
I personally challenge you to go even further. Don’t stop at 26. Continue to consciously do acts of kindness in honor of others. It could be family that is no longer with you, a child lost to cancer, victims of a car accident. Say their names and honor them.