When I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook news feed thinking about what I wanted to eat for dinner, I came across a story that stopped me in my tracks. A news station released an article about a sweet girl, named Halle, whose heart was broken on her 18th birthday. About two seconds into the story, I felt a sharp pang of sadness in my chest. All I could think was how selfish and cruel these people must be to make this autistic girl feel worthless and unloved. I could hear the kids in her class receiving the invitation to her birthday party laughing to each other saying “did she invite you too?” And yet, they all chose, together probably, not to go.
It takes me back to my own high school career… thinking about the people who were bullied and isolated just because their peers were mean and they were different. It draws attention to a bigger problem overall that happens in each and every school around the world. Just because someone is different, people leave them out, ridicule them, talk about them and truly make their lives miserable. I looked into it a little further and found that “over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year” (dosomething.org). How crazy is that? It’s staggering and heartbreaking really.
It’s pretty phenomenal how much we grow up from high school to young adulthood. Not to say that people don’t still treat others poorly, but some things just aren’t important anymore. I remember thinking in high school that it was so important what people wore or that some people were so weird, and now that quirkiness in people is what I find so endearing. I think to myself how boring it would be if we were all exactly the same and “cool”.
In thinking about all of this, I did a little research on what kindness does to a human being. Dr. David Hamilton explains that kindness “makes us happier, gives us healthier hearts, slows aging, makes for better relationships and is contagious.” I have to think this is true for both sides of the equation, both the person being kind and the person being treated with kindness.
The whole reason Halle’s cousin released her picture in the first place was so she could be sure that her 19th birthday is waaaay better than her 18th and that she receives the love and kindness that she especially, but really any human being deserves.
I was so excited to pick her out a card at the grocery store and write her a little something to let her know just how special I think she is. I’m crossing my fingers hoping a few people who read this will send her a card too and even more so, that this post will encourage us all to do something nice for someone else. This world can truly be a happier place, it just takes one act of kindness at a time.
C’est la vie,