Writing After an Education in Kindness

Before I continue with my article, I want to give a big thank you to the person who inspired a bit of the way I write. As I write, I am always a little worried about the things I say, but I want to create content to show a different point of view while also mixing in some positivity. I will not say names, but I am thankful to you for being a source of kindness for me every Sunday. A couple years ago, when I started reading them, I felt a part of the person, who I was during all the camps I went to, being restored. It was a huge disconnect to go from a place that upholds the values of love and respect to a place where it is not there. However, your blogs have become little reminders for me when life is a bit rough. I want my articles to be something like that for others; or at the very least, a distraction.

A couple years ago, I went to a conference - basically, another camp - with my two best friends. I felt extremely excited to go, reading the brochure I was given several times between the time I applied to the night before I went. From what I could tell, it was similar to the camp I went to as a child. This is the conference that gave me initiative to make some changes in my life. I did some similar activities that I have been doing since fourth grade - even the dreaded leap pad activity. However, I learned empathy and its benefits.

Beforehand, I knew what empathy was as a general term because an older PBS Kids show, Martha Speaks. In the simple terms of a children’s show, it is being able to feel what someone feels in order to understand them. At the conference, we took things deeper. It is not the same as seeing someone feel sad and comparing it to when you felt sad. You are trying to understand the situation by seeing it through their eyes, like putting yourself in their shoes. And it was great talking about these topics with other people who were strangers at first. I built so many connections when I spoke with others. Beforehand, I probably would have questioned why we were talking about this in the first place, especially because I did not know these people. However, I got to know part of this individual in front of me each day just by discussing empathy. I heard their stories, and they most certainly heard mine.

At the conclusion of the conference, we are asked to create an action plan for when we go back to our schools and community. This was the hardest part besides the high ropes course we did each year on Thursday. The people I met at this conference all had this inspiration of sharing kindness, and I wondered how I could expand kindness outside of this conference. The most straightforward answer is to keep being kind. As I have heard, kindness is like a ripple in the water. Once it starts, it grows bigger and bigger. However, none of us want this ripple to just cut off, which is why we keep restarting them when it stops. But what is a plan that I could implement in my community.

The first year was easy. I came out of the conference and entered into my senior year. My friend started a Mental Health Awareness Club at our high school. I had an idea of creating a joint Instagram with her and my other friends who went to the conference with me. Social media is a second home to many of us, and if I could, I wanted to fill everyone’s feed with something nice occasionally. However, it was more of an Instagram for the club, so eventually, I passed it down to someone else. But my second year at the conference posed issues. I debated as to whether or not I would start another social media account. I made a plan with my friends before college started. We would take turns and post something related to a category of positivity and self-care that we were individually in charge of. As much as I wished that would have worked out, we have our own lives to live too. Therefore, it never happened. Yet, I am sure each of us are doing our best to live up to the lessons we learned in our own ways.

Even though I was unable to go forward with a plan at the time, I think I figured out what I did with what I learned. I transferred some of it into my daily life, but I also left some of that within my writing too. Writing became my revised action plan. As I mentioned in the beginning, I found motivation from a blog I read every Sunday. It brings me peace when I need it. It reminds me of who I learned I could be when I need it. I do not have the years of wisdom the person behind the blog has developed. However, I am learning as I grow, and I hope that sharing my experiences with others can help them see a new perspective. I do not always write inspirational lessons, but I probably include it in the final paragraph as a habit. And if I can provide a distraction against the turmoils of life, I accept that too.

I do not know the lives behind a screen, so I will do my best to write something that will hopefully be entertaining for a few minutes. Best wishes to those reading this, even in hard times, I hope you find words that will inspire you too.