I can't believe it's been a year since the Sandy Hook shootings. I can remember watching the news and feeling helpless and heartbroken. Ann Curry started a movement on Twitter called #26acts. She challenged everyone to do 26 random acts of kindness, one for every student and teacher killed. I couldn't do anything to bring those students and teachers back, or bring the community any comfort, but I could promote kindness in my community. When Ann Curry challenged the Twitter universe, she asked "#26acts, Are you in?" I was in.
My little acts of kindness ranged from letting a person cut in front of me at the grocery store to leaving notes with candy bars or Starbucks cards on random car windshields. As I counted my way through the #26acts, I found that the tiny bit of kindness I passed to others had an effect on my heart. It was kind of like that scene in "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" where the Grinch's heart grows.
I wasn't "Grinchy" before I started #26acts, but my joy grew as I completed each act of kindness. A quotation (attributed to Ghandi, who never actually said it) that I love is "Be the change you want to see in the world." And I would like a world with more kindness. I have continued acts of kindness through this year, and this month, have been tweeting my #26acts once again. Last week I was going through the Starbucks drive-through. When I got to the window, I told the cashier I wanted to pay for the car behind me. He informed me that the car in front of me had paid for mine already. I got a little teary.
On this sad anniversary of Sandy Hook, in the wake of another school shooting yesterday, with the stress of the holiday season threatening to overtake the joy - I challenge everyone to a random act of kindness. It doesn't have to be big. It doesn't even have to cost money or take a lot of time. But I promise, your heart will grow in size.
#26acts . . . Are you in?