The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 26 people — including 20 children — were gunned down, sent shockwaves around the world.
People were angry, upset, devastated. They cried, they hugged their children, they called for stricter gun control laws.
And then people started to do something.
They started to give back.
What began as a tweet by NBC’s Ann Curry turned into a call to action.
“Imagine if we all committed to 20 acts of kindness for each child lost in Newtown? I’m in.”
I’m in, too.
This online campaign called “26 Acts of Kindness” has spurred thousands of random acts of generosity, altruism and compassion. People are leaving cash with notes on car windshields or vending machines. People are feeding expired parking meters and paying for strangers’ groceries.
It’s a revolution!
The whole concept is pretty interesting. It’s too bad it takes a tragedy like this for people to be nice to each other. But apparently, that’s the world we live in, where we have to consciously be kind to each other.
I thought about this when I walked to my car the other day and noticed someone had smashed my back bumper and failed to leave a note. Instead of a random act of kindness, I got a random act of quite the opposite. Yet, an off-duty police officer walked over — he was on his way to the bank — and explained to me what I needed to do. He even gave me a blank police report with instructions on what to do.
Out of something terrible came something kind — a stranger came to help.
So it’s important to be nice to others, and it’s equally important to recognize the niceness that surrounds us all the time.
Life is too short to flip off the guy who cut you off on the highway or trample other shoppers to get that $100 flat-screen TV.
Because at the end of the day, what does it achieve?
So do something nice today. In fact, do 26 nice things for every victim of the Newtown shooting. Feed an expired meter. Open a door for someone. Donate books to the library. Take cookies to the fire station. Thank a teacher. Hug your parents. It’s not hard — and the impact will be lasting. Trust me.
Want to get involved? Post your acts of kindness on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #26acts — and inspire others!
I’d want to start by making it #27acts. The shooter’s mother was as much a victim as those helpless children and school officials. We shouldn’t forget that.
Being kind and showing love and compassion for others is so important, and we certainly need a lot more of that in our world. At the same time, there are big, overwhelming societal problems that I hope we are also motivated to address — socioeconomic inequality, a failing educational system, unchecked violence and a broken judicial system, not to mention debatable gun-control legislation and inefficiencies in serving the mentally ill.
In my family, we are praying, sending condolences, and embracing goodness — and we are also discussing ways that we might become more proactive as citizens to help promote big, long-lasting change. I like that President Obama mentioned the need to DO something during his remarks at Sandy Hook. To me, he didn’t turn a tragedy into a political platform; he honored the victims by saying, “enough!” and recognizing that we need to take real action as a society to help prevent yet another mass shooting. Whatever our persuasions, I hope we can also direct our energies toward this type of macro-level change, as well as the everyday acts of kindness that are also critically important. Research the issues, determine your stance, write a Congressman or the Governor — I think that would be another hashtag-worthy endeavor.
My prayers go out to the families, friends and everyone that this tragety has affected. I believe that acts of kindness, giving, compassion should be everyday by everyone. The world would be a better place.
If you constantly strive to be a better person, like many already good people out there, you won’t need to do 26 or 27 nice acts due to having an already sizable good deed tally!