I have had this reoccurring thought. It started a few years ago after a bad stretch of news articles about war, hatred and violence. I revisited it after the theater massacre in Colorado. And it definitely has been on my mind ever since finding out about the events this week in Newtown… “What if we focused on the good in the world and ignored the bad. What would happen if we made a conscious effort to reward all that is shining and positive and heartfelt? What if the news only highlighted the everyday acts of kindness that all too often go unnoticed in a world driven by major headlines? Would our world be a better place? Would our actions encourage others to do the same? Would this earth that has endured wars and protests and unspeakable acts of hatred and violence tilt on its axis just a little bit? Would we change the way people think, act and even treat each other?”
These thoughts might be too much for many. Even typing them, they seem overly optimistic, hopeful and possibly even ignorant. But I woke up this morning to find out that Ann Curry feels the same. In an article penned by the news anchor herself, Ann asks the world, “What if? Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for every one of those children killed in Newtown.” She used her name and position to tweet her ideas, asking others to do the same. On her twitter account, she wrote, “I’m in. RT if you’re in.”
The results have been far reaching and astounding. From coast to coast, followers have flooded her account with pictures and messages of their personal acts of kindness. One person responded that they made six build-a-bears for the siblings of Newton. Someone else brought a donut to the school crossing guard. Other tweets include leaving an extra-large tip for a waitress (with a note asking her to follow her dreams), paying for the next three coffees at a local Starbucks, feeding the homeless, leaving a cheerful note on the windshield of a car, mailing lottery tickets to random recipients. The list goes on. Each act more kind and generous than the next.
In all of them, the authors mention joy, smiles and tears of happiness. And for a few moments, I am sure that all involved forgot that they live in a world where children die at school, mothers can't pay for health insurance, fathers are unemployed and grandparents worry about retirement. Maybe just for a few seconds, they were able to see that there is more good in this world than bad. And while those thoughts might only be fleeting at this point in time, they have the power to grow and build.
. She sent me this note, “I donated to Peachwave (frozen yogurt) and My Place Pizza. All the people I spoke with were super appreciative. Matt from Peachwave called me back to let me know that because of my donation other people who came into their restaurant started paying it forward to others in the community and by the end of the day they had over $400 of donations. Let's show Newtown (especially the children) that there is lots of good in the world and lots of generous, caring people.” One act of kindness really can make a difference.
What if we all took a few seconds to focus on each other and make someone else happy? How far would our kindness spread? What if we filled the world with so many good deeds and positive thoughts that there wasn’t any more room for anything terrifying, bad or ugly? I think it is worth a try. So does Ann Curry. The question is, “Are you in?”