Sunday, November 9, 2014

Insight - Rachel's Challenge - By Michelle Libby

Rachel’s Challenge was presented to students from first grade to high school in Windham on Wednesday. The presentation was given by Rachel’s father, Darrell Scott. For those who don’t know about Rachel or the challenge associated with her, Rachel was a student at Columbine High School and was gunned down by her classmate. Her father and brother made it their mission to bring forth the thoughts Rachel had about kindness and how one little act can act like a title wave. 
"I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go." Rachel

For parents of primary school students, the tragedy at Columbine was not mentioned in the presentation. According to school resource officer Jeff Smith, “It was a whole totally different presentation. It was a pep rally to get kids excited about kindness.”

Rachel’s Challenge was first presented in Windham two years ago and the school presentations were good for the students. They all wanted to run out and do good things for one another. The night program was for parents and it was more intense and the crying was doubled for people in attendance according to my daughter who went to both. 

I have a theory about crying in teenagers. Maury Povich and I believe the same thing. When teens cry, they get it. The penetrative wall has been broken through. For some this was one of those moments. They joined the Friends’ of Rachel club at the high school and at the middle school, groups that spread Rachel’s words of understanding and kindness all year long. 

It’s a wonderful message that should be repeated regularly not just to the students, but to the adults. Parents and their children should be having discussions about kindness and how we can treat others with compassion. Parents should be checking in with their children about how they are being treated and how they are treating others. 

When I was in middle school I was bullied. This was before bulling was a politically correct topic and nothing was done. I was harassed at school, on the bus, at home and for some reason it spread until I was the most hated girl in my school. Talking to me was considered high treason. I wonder how things would have gone if we’d had someone preaching kindness and compassion. So what if two girls liked the same boy, or if someone got better grades. There is no reason to belittle and degrade anyone. 

It’s awful that the death of this girl is what it took to bring forth her message, but if it can keep one person from dealing what I had to deal with or stop one bully from spreading venom and hatred around the school, then I’m glad that her message is being told and leaving a lasting impression. 

For those kids who don’t like hearing the message repeatedly…know that Rachel’s Challenge can save a life…maybe even yours.

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