I had an amazing opportunity last month to hear a presentation from Darrell Scott, “Rachel’s Father.” Rachel Scott was the first person killed in the Columbine High School shooting 17 years ago and Darrell has committed his life to sharing Rachel’s story and inspiring kindness and compassion in schools all over the world. After her death, many schoolmates that Rachel had reached out to shared stories with the Scotts about the profound impact her simple acts of kindness had on their lives; even preventing one young man from taking his own life. Darrell realized the transformational effect of Rachel’s story and started the non-profit organization that is Rachel’s Challenge today.
We all face adversity in our lives and we can choose to be a “victim” (in which “things are happening to me”) or we can be the “cause” and create outcomes from our circumstances. I was moved by the presentation, most notably being that Darrell has chosen to take this horrific event and be the “cause” for something positive. I’m not sure I would have had the ability to make the same decision. His courage was inspiring and will always be a reminder to me to try to be the “cause.”
At the end of the presentation he challenged us to reach out to 10 people we know and share our gratitude with them for being in our lives. Gratitude has been proven to be a key component to happiness, so sharing that with someone else not only makes them feel good, but will make you feel good too.
Initially this seemed like an easy task to reach out to 10 people. However as I started going down my list, I found that it is more difficult than I had originally thought. I have found myself doing a lot of reflecting and trying to be very thoughtful about how to put into words what someone means to me. I must say the conversations have brought me great joy. I honestly feel closer with those people after the conversation and it’s empowering to let them know how I feel. Some already knew I felt that way, but others were flattered to learn and hear that I thought so highly of them.
In the pursuit of kindness, compassion, and being happy, I would encourage all of you to take some time each day to reflect on what you are grateful for in your life or take a moment to let someone know that they are important to you. I think you’ll find that it will give you the boost you need on a bad day or be the spark that inspires confidence in someone else. You may even save their life.