As our country begins to heal from the senseless mass shootings last week in El Paso and Dayton, we have to figure out how good can rise from such tragedy.  Voices from these two communities are proving that we are stronger together and that lessons can be learned from staying connected. 

Loss in Marriage or a Loved One

We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and to contribute in a way that makes a difference. But many of us are facing losses in our own family- whether it is the loss of a marriage or the loss of a loved one, you begin to think that just surviving your day to day struggles already takes everything you’ve got.  This is a chance to quit looking at the big picture and see the world through the eyes of young children who have learned that a single act of kindness can brighten their day. 

The Kindness Challenge

After the tragedies in their home towns, young boys in El Paso and Dayton have started a “Kindness Challenge” to stop focusing on the bad and to spread the good.  In El Paso, an 11-year-old boy and his mother started the #El Paso Challenge, a social media campaign to encourage people to give back and spread kindness. To honor the 22 people who died, he is encouraging others to do 22 acts of kindness. As explained in the video, sometimes the best cure for feeling bad is doing something good.  

Inspired by El Paso, two 10-year-old boys in Dayton started a similar campaign, #Dayton Challenge, encouraging everyone to spread random acts of kindness. In the news video, the boys explained their mission: “We feel like everybody can be kind if they just choose to be kind…No matter what age you are, you can do anything.”  In honor of the 9 people killed, they are suggesting 9 days of kindness such as: 

Day 1: Pay forward to one person in line in the drive-thru.

Day 2: Give two people a hug.

Day 3: Write and send three anonymous praise letters

Day 4: Open the door for four people

Day 5: Give five high fives

Day 6: Introduce yourself to six new people

Day 7: Give seven items to a local food bank

Day 8: Give out eight genuine compliments

Day 9: Tell nine people how much you love them

So let’s take a lesson from the kids: To change the world, all it takes is a random act of kindness!

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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