How to show kindness

Published 11:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2023

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By Ruthie Houston and Owen Rainey

The following essays were the George Rogers Clark High School winners of the Random Act of Kindness Week essay contest. Houston won first place and Rainey won second place.

First place

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Growing up as an older sibling, I always felt a sense of responsibility toward my younger sister. I wanted to be a positive influence in her life and help her in any way I could. One small but impactful way I found to do this was by picking her up from school with snacks.

At first, I would just surprise her with a bag of chips or candy, but over time, I began to see how much it meant to her. She would be so excited to see me waiting for her after school, and the snacks just added to her excitement. It was a small gesture, but it made her feel loved and cared for.

As my sister got older, this routine continued. She would share stories about her day, and we would talk about anything and everything. I loved being able to provide a safe space for her to decompress after a long day.

Looking back on this experience, I realize that it was not just the snacks that made a difference, but the time and attention I gave my sister. By taking the time to pick her up from school and listen to her, I was showing her that she was important to me and that I cared about her. This simple act of kindness created a strong bond between us that has lasted to this day.

As my sister has grown up, our relationship has evolved, and the snacks are no longer the focus of our time together. But the impact of those snacks remains. It taught me the power of small acts of kindness and the importance of showing up for the people we care about. For my sister, I hope it showed her that she is loved and valued, no matter what.

Second place

It was my first Varsity start on my home soccer field, and I could feel my body tensing up as I stepped onto the field. The sun was beating down on me, illuminating everything, and all I could see was yellow. It was the moment I had been waiting for since I had begun my high school career. I should have been excited; I should have been ready, However, I couldn’t even focus on what was happening. All that was going through my mind was not making a mistake. After only a couple minutes into the game,

I made the wrong play, and it cost us a goal. Instead of getting back up, focusing, and forgetting the mistake, I let it happen again. I was defeated. I felt like a liability, and for the first time, I felt like I didn’t belong on that field and in that goal. My team never asked how I was; they just stormed off in frustration. If it hadn’t been for a stranger on the other team, this one fleeting moment could have ended my soccer career. I was on the ground, feeling sorry for myself, when a hand reached out in front of me. I looked up and it was the kid who just scored the second goal on us. He shook my hand and told me to keep my head up and keep going. He had no obligation to help or make me feel better, but he did.

His small act completely changed the outcome for me. I wasn’t sad or depressed anymore; I was angry and motivated. Grateful for the kindness of a stranger, his response propelled me to working harder, letting the mistakes go, and showing the same compassion to others on the field.