Eye of the Tyler: Define ‘26’ with kindness instead of tragedy

  • Monday, January 14, 2013

Visitors pass by a tree bearing the photo of Emilie Parker during the Dec. 27 community dedication of a grove of trees at the Salt Lake City cemetery in remembrance of victims of the Newtown, Conn., shootings. Parker’s parents Robbie and Alissa Parker originally hailed from Ogden, Utah, before they moved to Newtown.

The number 26 isnít a great number. First, itís an even number, and everybody knows odd numbers are better. Second, itís a multiple of the notoriously unlucky number 13.
And then, on a serious note, there were the 26 innocent victims of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Yes, it was about three weeks ago, but this is still relevant. Iím not writing to inflict any more mental damage on us, because Iím not sure how much more we can handle. My mother is a kindergarten teacher, so that tragedy hits close to home.
The question that is always asked after unthinkable disasters is ďHow can we make ourselves better?Ē
Iím not publicizing my side on gun control debates, and itís my hope that much smarter people are going to figure that out. My plan of action is simple, and one that every person of any age can understand.
Iím with NBC News correspondent Ann Curry, who recently unveiled the ď26 Acts of KindnessĒ effort in honor of the students and school faculty whose lives were taken. The movement calls for people to perform 26 acts of random kindness to anyone Ė friends and strangers.
Rather than cutting in line at a grocery store, let the single mother juggling a couple kids and a buggy full of groceries in front of you.
Pay for the guyís meal behind you in the fast food drive-thru lane.
Go ahead and cringe at this one, but if you rent an apartment, the hired landscapers would appreciate you picking up after your pet and another personís pet on the grass outside.
Pull your car off the road when you see a dog darting through traffic and bring the furry fella to an animal shelter.
Make your mama and pops happy by holding the door open for a person walking in a store behind you.
Say, ďGod bless youĒ when someone sneezes, because we could all use some blessing from the Man Upstairs.
Tip a waiter or waitress a little more than usual, whether the service was good or bad. It could be the difference between satisfactory and unsatisfactory service for the following paying customer.
Hereís the kicker: when possible, donít call attention to your good deed. Donít hang out just past the drive-thru window after paying for the next guyís Whopper meal in an awkward display requesting verbal thanks.
Letís make this world better with one act of kindness at a time. Work your way up every day to 26.
Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler and Allison N. Wyatt would appreciate that.

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