I haven’t taken much time on my blog to talk about the senseless tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Friday, December 14, 2012. I posted a poem about the loss, but otherwise, I’ve been relatively silent about it. This isn’t because I don’t want to talk about it. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I think it needs to be talked about. I think, all too frequently, we forget tragedies like this as well as others such as Columbine and 9/11. Like a lot of other things, those memories fade with time. I get that. Our heart guards itself.
I don’t believe that we should all walk around in fear of each other or of what the future could hold for us. Instead, I think we should each make a concerted effort everyday to see the pain in other people, and to make a positive difference in the lives of those we come into contact with. I’m not saying that these tragedies could have been prevented – sadly, there’s no way to know if that’s the case. And I’m not sure that any of us would actually feel better if we knew that those tragedies could have been stopped beforehand simply with an act of kindness.
I do believe, however, that it’s time to focus on ‘paying it forward.’ Have you seen that movie? Pay It Forward? It’s an incredibly poignant and touching movie. If you can watch it and not cry, then I think perhaps you might be broken.
As I’ve been reflecting on the tragedy at Sandy Hook over the last few days I keep coming back to the fact that in a month, this story will be forgotten by the majority of the populous. That makes me sad. I know that the grief of that day will forever live on in the families and loved ones of those 26 souls that went to meet their Savior that day. Thinking about this tragedy makes me sad. My heart cries for those families.
So the question remains: how can I remember this tragedy without being overwhelmed with sadness? I think, perhaps, I have the answer (at least for myself). In honor of those 26 souls, I will, over the course of 2013, pay it forward. On the 14th of every month, I am going to practice a random act of kindness to a complete stranger. This might be paying for the guy behind me at Starbucks, giving clothing and food to a homeless person, or cooking dinner for a family in need. There aren’t any specifics or ‘rules’ except the date… the 14th.
To my friends, family, and to those complete strangers that read this blog post I ask this of you… would you practice a random act of kindness on a regular basis if you knew that it might have the potential to prevent a tragedy like this? I heard a story the other day about a lady driving through Starbucks and when she got to the window, the cashier informed her that her order had been paid for by the person in front of her. She, in turn, decided to pay for the order of the person behind her. She asked the cashier how long this had been going on, and the cashier said ‘at least the last two and a half hours.’ I realize that it’s coffee, but how profound is this? That with one simple random act of kindness this started a trend that lasted for hours and brightened the lives of who knows how many others.
Will you join with me in honor and remembrance of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary by practicing a random act of kindness on the 14th of every month? I hope you will.
I would love for you to post ideas for RAOK’s or your own personal experiences with them. Please feel free to put the button below on your blog.
You can read about my RAOK experience throughout the year by clicking these links:
I’m sharing the word about this project here: