Kindness in the Wake of Tragedy

Mr. Rogers’ Wisdom

In the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, we witnessed many acts of kindness, both caught on camera and brought to our attention by news media:  People who ran 2 miles past the finish line to give blood at the hospital.  First responders and ordinary citizens who ran toward the scene to offer aid and comfort to victims.  People using their own clothing to provide makeshift bandages for victims.  Flowers and teddy bears piling up in memory, often left by total strangers.  Google providing a service to aid in finding loved ones.   And of course huge candlelight vigils.  Whose heart isn’t wounded at the thought of all those people cheering at the finish line and suddenly dead or maimed?  I’ve probably just made you weep again over this disaster; I know I just did that to myself.

But there is a positive side.  Really.  In the the aftermath of both this tragedy and the recent tragedy at Newtown, I was presented with images of Fred Rogers from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, with his quote “Look for the helpers.”  I would like to carry it a step further.  When there is a tragedy of this scope, everyone is watching, and many of us become aware of actions of people in the vicinity–most of them positive.  There is also far more that we are unaware of.  People hugging bedraggled-looking strangers, offering kind words of support, looking at others instead of through them as a reminder that they truly matter, that we are together in this…

It’s your turn, and mine, to be a Helper.  Many of those around you are feeling a little extra vulnerable in the wake of this horror.  Give them a smile.  A sincere compliment.  Signal them that it’s okay to cut in front of you in traffic.  You won’t end up on the news for it.  But you will feel better for it.  And so will they.

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