In the days following the Sandy Hook School tragedy, an idea was formed. Someone heard it, or read about it, and mentioned it to someone else, and it began to grow. By the time my sister suggested it to me, the notion had only a small audience, but it was so full of love, and goodwill, that it soon blossomed! The concept was this- my sister vowed to perform 28 random acts of kindness within one year to offset the brutality, and evil of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The thought was that performing one deed per victim, would honor them, spreading a little more light into this world, and give grieving people something concrete and good to do. When I posted my vow on my Facebook page, 3 friends immediately embraced the task, so I created a group on the social network. Within 10 minutes, the group grew from 10 people, to 88, to 189! Now, a week later, there are 805 people vowing to perform at least 26 random acts of kindness within one year. If every one of us follows through, the world will experience a minimum of 20, 930 additional kindnesses!
There were some immediate issues discussed on the site. Some people said that random acts of kindness should happen naturally, and we shouldn’t have to go out of our way to be kind to people. Most of the members immediately agreed, but clarified that this group was dedicated to completing additional acts- things over and above what they would normally do. Each member has to search their own soul to decide which kindnesses “count” and which do not. Another personal issue was whether to commit 26 acts of kindness or 28, which would include the shooter and his mother in the list of victims. While some of our members refuse to acknowledge anyone but the school children and their teachers, others feel an overwhelming need to mitigate the evil by performing 28 acts of kindness. They insist that kindnesses are especially needed to compensate for the actions of the disturbed young man who committed this dreadful atrocity.
The site is loaded with wonderful ideas from people all over the United States and Canada, sharing some of their experiences. One woman put money into envelopes, and wrote a note on the front saying, “You are the recipient of a random act of kindness in honor of the Sandy Hook Elementary school victims. Hug your children a little closer for us.” She dropped these off at a local grocery store, asking the clerk to hand them out to people with small children. Another woman, took that idea, and did the same thing, giving her envelopes to clerks at a Goodwill, and a Dollar store. Members have given coats, hats, gloves and socks to children and the homeless, and baked goods to police and fire stations. They have donated turkeys and toys to needy families, and given huge tips to struggling waitresses. They’ve given money to young mothers using food stamps in check out lines. The creativity and generosity of this group is inspiring.
Christmas is behind us now, and for some, the memory of 20 beautiful first graders and their 6 brave teachers is fading. The world, so shocked, and saddened by the calamity, is beginning to move on. While we must go on with our lives, I challenge all of you reading this article, to keep the Sandy Hook children in your minds. Join our group and pledge to “be the good” which will make this world a better place. Look for 26 ways, big or small, to honor the victims by helping spread some light and kindness in this world. Go to Facebook group Random Acts of Kindness to honor the victims of Newtown, CT. I guarantee we will welcome you.