Lately, we have all had moments in which we’ve asked ourselves, “Is this the world we live in today? Is this real life?” Turning on the news often leads us to believe that humanity is in a downward spiral, so fast and furious that we aren’t sure where to begin or how to get back to a world that evokes feelings of happiness and safety instead of shock and sadness. I believe it is a near certainty that the best way to fight negativity is with positivity and that for every unfavorable act that is committed, there are many acts of kindness that go unnoticed. Only we are able to change the climate of the world we live in; one act of kindness at a time. My belief system may be naive, but let’s give it a go, shall we?! In the face of the discouraging incidents reported on and discussed in every day media, I am going to start highlighting all the wonderful things being done by, not only our peers, but also the generations who look up to us and to whom we look up to. If we just take a moment to have a look, the amount of kindness we uncover may surprise us all.
Quite often these days young people get a bad rap, but anyone who is uncertain of the power and heart of America’s teenagers should meet Jeremiah Anthony. After coming across a story about school bullies torturing their victims via social media, Anthony decided to retaliate by creating a twitter account for which the sole purpose was spreading positivity to his classmates. Using the twitter handle @westhighbros, this Iowa City teenager and his friends have now sent over 3,000 tweets to members of the West High School student body, teachers, faculty and staff. The young men dole out daily compliments to friends who appear to need a pick me up, classmates in whom they see positive, appreciated personality traits, athletes preparing for a big game or celebrating a victory, and faculty who have gone out of their way to support the student body. The average visitor to this twitter feed is also likely to come across a good ole’ inspirational message to start the day.
The West High Bros recently made the day of @Zukkini_18 by tweeting, “You’re extremely trustworthy. That is a trait most people have trouble mastering. You’ll keep/make many friends if you keep it up:)”
One of West High’s elite athletes, @zacknullmeyer, was hit with this compliment about his ability and work ethic, “you are the man, one of the best runners West has right now. You have more work ethic than just about anyone.”
And to @thorne_kate, a classmate who puts her studies first, the positive twitter bandits ensured she knew her hard work didn’t go unnoticed by saying, “Gotta respect your undying diligence to your studies. You just don’t quit until excellence is achieved.”
In the spirit of full disclosure, I spent about an hour of my Sunday reading through hundreds of tweets sent by these students and I could have highlighted hundreds more. As I began reading, expecting to simply find one or two messages to highlight, I became completely immersed in the kindness as well as the warm, grateful responses of the people receiving the tweets. Jeremiah Anthony and the West High Bros are a prime example of a small act of kindness having a profound impact. Instead of turning a blind eye or getting caught up in the negativity around them, they are standing up to the notion of cyber bullying, one positive tweet at a time.
Originally, I planned to leave you with a quote on how a small act of kindness can change the world. However, I feel it most appropriate to share an inspirational thought this group of students sent out to the world a few days ago.
“Find the good in the world. Find the good in others. Find the good in yourself.”
Jeremiah and his band of anti-bullies are winning in the face of intolerance. Wise beyond their years, their continual acts of appreciation are living proof that their is much good to be found in the world; many acts of kindness to be uncovered.
Featured Image via Shutterstock.