Two things happened to me yesterday.
First, my high school daughters BOTH came home and spoke of their Mt. Si High School “Welcome Back” assembly. Each seemed moved by the ASB video presentation called, “Perspectacles.” The video featured a stereotypical high school boy. One judging his classmates and teachers. Then he sat down at a lunch table where he thought some “nerd” had left his glasses. The glasses said “perspectacles” on them. The boy put the glasses on. While wearing them he was able to see something about his classmates and teachers he didn’t know or understand. He walked by one girl. The glasses showed him her grandfather died two days earlier. The glasses showed him a girl who was stuck in an abusive relationship. He realized another girl was battling anorexia. He saw one boy who the glasses said “likes to draw – contemplating suicide.” He reached out to him. He saw a teacher, worried no one liked his class. The boy liked this particular teacher’s class… but never told him. So he did. He learned new things about many people. Things that made him more compassionate, more understanding. The glasses changed him.
Second, I learned about Rachel Scott. She was a kind, 17-year-old girl – and the first victim of the Columbine High School Shootings 11 years ago. Her father now travels the country speaking at high school assemblies – challenging students with kindness and compassion. After his daughter’s death in 1999, he found her diaries and an english paper. The english paper was Rachel’s “Code of Conduct.” She wrote of kindness and compassion – and how these two simple things could make monumental changes in our world. He said he didn’t know how wise Rachel was at such a young age – until he lost his her.
He said Rachel was not a prodigy – in either sports or school. She was, though, revered by her classmates for her kindness and compassion. Something Rachel’s father considers of the utmost importance. He decided to keep his daughter’s message alive. So he’s traveled the country for over 10 years, speaking at high schools and challenging students with Rachel’s positive message. Mr. Scott says his assemblies are not anti-bullying, but more about living Rachel’s way. A way that defeats bullying and makes kids happier. And isn’t the goal for kids to be happy at school?
This week marks the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It was an attack motivated by hatred. Nearly 3,000 people died that day. I still vividly remember each moment – where I was, how old my kids were, the news coverage. Ten years later, I still cannot comprehend that type of anger or hatred. Kindness and compassion. Such a simple answer. Such endless possibilities. I challenge you all – and myself.
To learn more about Rachel’s challenge and/or to bring her message to your school visit www.rachelschallenge.org/