Friday, February 19, 2010

The Josh Stevens Foundation

It has been a very long time since since I have written here, but today I attended a presentation that was quite unexpected.  As an educator, four times a year we experience (are subjected to) staff development days, and today, I was quite unprepared for what happened.  A representative of the Josh Stevens Foundation came to speak with us.  Now, please understand, what I was prepared for was a guru, peddling their can't miss system for bettering student performance or some nonsense like that.  What I witnessed couldn't have been further from that.  This representative was actually the father of the foundation's namesake, a young man who was killed in a freak accident right before his 13th birthday.  As the father recounted the details, I couldn't have been more moved.  In the middle of my colleagues, hard as I tried not to, I cried.  And cried.  And then, just for good measure, cried a bit more.

It is basically a foundation that rewards students for random acts of kindness.  That's it.  Businesses donate the rewards which are usually in the form of gift certificates.  Staff members get shirts that advertise slogans for kindness, and are encouraged to try to sell shirts beyond those numbers, ostensibly, to help the organization purchase more shirts, publicize more, etc.

While I cannot vouch for this organization having just seen this presentation this morning, this father couldn't have been more sincere.  If there is some nefarious plot, I didn't see it.  I was quite taken by the message, simple and succinct; be kind.  In the end, really, what more is there?  So if you are a parent, give your kids a huge hug, tell them that you love them, and find some way to spoil them rotten today.  If you have a friend or loved one near, do the same.  The future is uncertain, but the kindness we show today may make all the difference in the life of someone you know and love.