Words are powerful. They can be used to edify and encourage or they can break down and destroy.
My guess is that the young man who has devastated and angered our country by taking the lives of 28 very young victims was on the receiving end of more words of the latter kind and too few of the former. My belief is that we can prevent another tragedy from occurring if we will have the courage to recognize that the way we treat one another is part of the cycle that leads to this violence.
The young man who is responsible for the massacre of schoolchildren was in a terrible place. I can only imagine that he must have felt enraged, isolated and alone. He did not get that way all by himself. Had a few more caring people been in his life, encouraging him along the way, we might not be talking about this right now. So here is what I am asking of you: if you really want to do something to help in the wake of this tragedy, start by making sure you aren’t contributing to the next person losing it.
For the next 28 days, give up anger. Give up sarcasm and snark. Quit pontificating and start encouraging. Speak kindly to everyone you meet and offer a word to a person you might otherwise pass by. Curb your tongue for 28 days – one for each of the victims (that we know so far) and see how quickly the world starts to change.
This began as a Facebook post, but I believe in my heart that we can change the world one compassionate moment at a time. I love you guys and I don’t want to go through this again.
Update: The world is responding! Ann Curry suggested 26 acts of kindness for each of the kids/teachers at the school. While I think it is a mistake to leave Adam and his mother out of our effeorts (more on that later) I will take 26 acts of kindness over none any day of the year!!! Go Ann! Thank you to anyone who does better by their neighbor in honor of the memories of those lost to us in Newtown.