After my highlight reel of fails the other day, trust me when I tell you that the irony of being interviewed for #AdamsActs is not lost on me! And while I feel unfit for such a responsibility, I had the privilege of challenging an entire gymnasium full of 4th, 5th and 6th graders to join #AdamsActs with all of us for the next ten days.
I got to stand in front of these developing minds and tell them about all the things that my big brother could do - soccer, wrestling, editing the school paper, making people laugh, etc. But, I also got to tell them that Adam wasn't special because of what he could do, but because of what he chose to BE. And what he chose to be was really, really kind. I shared with them one of my favorite acts of kindness that exemplify who Adam was when nobody was looking. Below is an excerpt from a message I received many years after his death, about a simple kindness Adam showed to one of his classmates.
When I was 15, I went to the freshman dance in the cafeteria in the Jr High. I was awkward and very shy. I spent most of the evening hiding in the bathroom and hoping it would just be over. I ended up going out to the dance floor. I didn't know Adam, but I recognized him. He was there all by himself. Amazing! A 14 year old boy at a dance by himself! ( I went with a group of girl friends). I asked if he wanted to dance. He said sure! Before we got a chance, my friend cut in. It was funny the first time, but she did it repeatedly all night long and I never did get to dance with this nice boy. Well, as I was walking down the hall after the dance, I met up with Adam. My friend was no where in sight. I mentioned that to him, just as a joke. He stopped right there and we danced! Just for a few moments. No music, no cafeteria, who cares who saw.
What a special, special brother you have! I don't know of any boy that age that would do such a sweet thing. I was always taught that there are angels on earth. I have repeated this story to people many times and there is no doubt in my mind that he was an angel.
At the age where these kids are still forming their world view, and their very identity, I am counting it as my Day 21 act of kindness that I attempted to convince hundreds of kids that being kind is cool. That slow dancing in the hallway to no music with the shy girl who felt left out is the stuff of legacies. That seeing the kid who feels invisible, is what separates everyone else from the heroes. As a kid, it is so easy to feel like you are standing alone on the wrong side of a great divide. Maybe it's having the wrong sneakers, or clothes from all the wrong stores, an outdated haircut, or a second-hand dress for the prom. Or maybe it's just having nowhere to sit (or nobody to dance with) in the junior high cafeteria. Whatever it is, these kids are still deciding which kind of kid they will be. Will they be brave enough, kind enough, to reach out across that divide (which is much smaller than it seems to the girl hiding in the bathroom at a school dance) or will they be like everyone else?
I was beyond excited to be invited to push these kids to grow in the area of kindness. But, I admit that I was a bit on the nervous side. Enter into evidence, Exhibit A: the photo I sent to my sister-in-law, Carlie, when she asked how I was feeling about the whole thing.
Despite the nerves however, I am so thankful to have this unique opportunity to partner with the students and faculty at Rogers Middle School. And 13 WHAM news. Even though they think my name is Lisa.
I am not even a little bit ashamed to admit that mid-speech I, Lisa, took a mass selfie with the entire middle school. The quality of the photos are terrible, as was the decision probably, but they still turned out really fun!
For Day 22, I was going to go see a friend about a pelvis, and that's really all I will say about that. However, there was an unexpected change in her schedule so pelvic plans have been moved to Monday. Which means I have just enough time to panic-scramble some sort of pathetic kindness in this evening.
But, I also thought I should give some updates as well! First of all, the donation bin for David's Refuge has been a HUGE success! As you can see below, we have received mountains of sweet and salty snacks which will be used to fill gift baskets to accompany the overnight getaways for parents and caregivers of children with severe special needs or life-threatening medical conditions. There is still time to donate some snacks to my front step. If you are interested, message me for my address. We will be collecting items until the 31st.
I have to admit that I have also been the recipient of many kindnesses. My friend Andrea sent these beautiful roses and a note of encouragement, my mother-in-law brought me these cheery daisies and my friend Lexi has provided an eternal supply of apples. (#foodsofaffirmation) An eternal supply is saying a lot for a household of seven! Trust me when I tell you that the grocery struggle is real. As always, it's better to give than to receive... but I gotta admit that recieving is a very close second. I am very blessed to be surrounded by people that Adam would have loved if he could know them and I consider it the great sadness of my life that they will never get to. Still, it encourages me to believe that God is using both Adam's memory, and all my favorite people, to raise up a new generation of kind kids.