I’ve been inspired this week by a nation-wide project that was fueled by NBC journalist, Ann Curry. In response to the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14, she asked her Twitter followers a “what if” question. What if each person vowed to do twenty acts of kindness, one for each child killed that day?
Her question spawned a movement to do twenty-six acts of kindness in honor of the teachers and children. Some people are doing twenty-seven acts, including the shooter’s mother in the victim list. [Some don’t include her because she was shot at home and not at the school.] A Facebook page has been set up where participants can list their good deeds, not for acknowledgement, but to inspire others with good ideas for “random acts of kindness.”
There’s a tendency to feel helpless and vulnerable when evil acts are perpetrated on the innocent, especially when the victims are children. For a few days, I was discouraged. The thought of a small child watching his classmates get gunned down, knowing his turn was coming, was more than I could bear. As a former teacher, I imagined what those teachers felt, knowing that they were acting as human shields for their students. Did they know their selflessness might buy those children only a second or two? Did they hope that maybe those two seconds might save the life of at least one child?
It depressed me. I felt like evil had won and was laughing at all of us in triumph. But a slow burning determination took hold. I would not let this event discourage me. The twenty six/seven acts of kindness seemed a way to show that no matter how much evil was present in the world, it had no power to take the light out of my life unless I allowed it.
Below is the list of the twenty-seven victims. Will you join me in doing acts of kindness in their names? If you do an act of kindness on behalf of one of these people, will you leave what you did and in whose name in the comment section? I will then copy and paste it next to their names. [If you prefer to be anonymous, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will withhold your name from public view. Blogger generally sees it as spam if you mark your comment as anonymous.] I will post your act of kindness next to the name of the person you chose. You may choose more than one, and if people pick the same name that’s okay too.
Many people are leaving notes with their act of kindness, letting the recipient know in whose name the kindness was bestowed. If you need ideas check out the Facebook page.
Emilie Parker, 05/12/06, female (age 6) I will start off with Emilie Parker, who recently moved to Connecticut from Utah. We bought a jumbo Hershey bar and left it in the mail box for our mail carrier, along with a note.
Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female (age 6) I have a friend who is housebound for the New Year's holiday so I took her some chips and pop so she can celebrate at home with her children.
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male (age 7)
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female (age 6)
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female (age 7) Auntie M. had in her possession a yellow kitchen bowl that belonged to her mother. She sent this 50+ year old bowl to her niece, who had never met this grandmother, and who will treasure it beyond belief. She sent this heirloom to her niece in honor of Josephine Gay and Dylan Hockley.
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female (age 6) Anonymous 3 knew of a family who had a very low food budget, so she delivered some essentials and goodies to the family in honor of Ana.
Dylan Hockley, 03/08/06, male (age 6)Auntie M. had in her possession a yellow kitchen bowl that belonged to her mother. She sent this 50+ year old bowl to her niece, who had never met this grandmother, and who will treasure it beyond belief. She sent this heirloom to her niece in honor of Josephine Gay and Dylan Hockley.
Madeleine F. Hsu, 07/10/06, female (age 6)
Catherine V. Hubbard, 06/08/06, female (age 6)
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male (age 7) Weston had plans to shoot off some New Year's fireworks. He decided to invite along a boy from outside his normal circle of friends, one who doesn't get invited to many activities, then had him over for hot cocoa and cookies. He did this in honor of Chase Kowalski because he has a friend with that same first name.
Jesse Lewis, 06/30/06, male (age 6)
James Mattioli, 03/22/06, male (age 6)
Grace McDonnell, 11/04/05, female (age 7)
Jack Pinto, 05/06/06, male (age 6)
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male (age 6)
Caroline Previdi, 09/07/06, female (age 6)
Jessica Rekos, 05/10/06, female (age 6)
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female (age 6)
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male (age 6) Pat gave $20 to a mother struggling to raise her children alone in honor of Benjamin Wheeler.
Allison N. Wyatt, 07/03/06, female (age 6) Pat gave $20 to a struggling family to help with household bills in honor of Allison.
Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female (age 29) I took some Pillsbury frozen cookie dough over to my neighbor with a note that said, "Everyone could use a little dough for the holidays." I wanted to honor a teacher and chose to do it in Rachel Davino's name.
Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female (age 47)
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female (age 52)
Lauren Russeau, 1982, female (age 29)
Mary Sherlach, 02/11/56, female (age 56) In honor of Mary Sherlach, Anonymous 2 took a plate of cookies over to her ex-husband's house because he was spending New Year's Eve alone.
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female (age 27)
Nancy Lanza Anonymous paid the past-due mortgage for a couple who was soon to lose their home in honor of Nancy Lanza, because she is omitted from some Acts of Kindness lists.
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
“But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword.”