Sunday, December 15, 2013

Offsetting Random Acts of Violence with Purposeful Acts of Kindness

This weekend commemorates the one-year anniversary of the tragic shooting attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 26 lives were taken senselessly.  Newtown & the nation were horribly shaken, especially during the holiday season.  It's an anniversary that should never be.  I'm still as heartbroken for the families as I was last year.  The Huffington Post article on the anniversary was a particularly thoughtful reflection.

Additionally now, this weekend will become another anniversary of another wretched shooting, this time due to the double murder and suicide on Friday at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado.

As the country faces unbelievably sad moments such as these (especially during the holiday season), and politicians wrestle with gun laws, the senslessness of it all shines out.  People will be without their people at Christmastime due to the violence of others.  That's just plain wrong and makes you want to do something, yet leaves you feeling powerless as to what to do.

Last year, in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, a movement sprang up to take back power by attacking the fear and injustice--a movement based on spreading the joy and love of the season by "paying it forward."  #26Acts was begun, and it was through the sharing of human kindnesses that hearts began to heal.

Tonight as I was playing the "Santa Elf" role (wrapping presents for teachers, friends & family, & care packages for far-away friends), I was thinking a lot about all of this.  The unexpected surprises that will appear in mailboxes, on front porches, and on teacher desks that will be from me.  We all do this.  It's all a part of sharing the Christmas spirit.  It all helps to awaken the human spirit--theirs, but even more--mine.  

If you are looking for some ways to offset the random acts of violence with some random (or purposeful) acts of kindness, here is a list of some great resources.  May it help your heart grow 3 sizes larger, filled with holiday spirit, much like Dr. Seuss' Grinch's heart did!  May it help remind you of the true reason of the season.

 Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar--a clickable calendar with different ideas each day on how you can do something this season to make someone's day.  25 ways to grow your heart, each day of this month!

 Lesson Plans on Random Acts of Kindness--A whole Kindness Notebook, tabbed out by grade level, filled with activities to use in your classroom.  They were compiled by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and are all free--a great kindness, indeed!

 Kindness Videos--Again, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation outdoes itself.  Many of the videos are not only information, but inspirational and thought provoking!  They also have some great monthly calendar & poster resources at their website which may inspire you to do a little something every day.

Images from:
--Sandy Hook Elementary Heart picture from
--Kindness red tag from
--Dr. Seuss Quote heart from

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