Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Wil-Full Act of Kindness

Those of you who read my blog know that I have a thing for people being kind to one another. I have a thing for people being considerate and compassionate and empathetic. I write regularly about these topics, whether they relate to kids or to adults.

The past two years at the commencement ceremony, I told the kids that my generation . . . our generation . . . failed. And I meant it. Still do.

Any newspaper, any newscast gives us example after example of people treating people less then. Put downs, sarcasm, disparaging remarks are part and parcel of our everyday language. Elected officials lying incessantly. Greed. Scandals. You name it.

July 12th is the remembrance of our son’s death. Four years ago, Wil was shot and killed at the hands of a kid involved in a gang. A .45 was given to this kid, then fifteen-year-old, by a thirty-one-year-old ‘adult’. One shot hit anyone and that one shot hit my son as he walked down the street on his way home from lunch and running errands. Just happened to be on the street as this fifteen-year-old tried to shoot and kill a gang rival. Our son was between them and he died on that sidewalk.

One of Wil’s friends, Sarah, messaged me on Facebook recently and suggested we call July 12th the Wil-Full Acts of Kindness day. I liked the idea. You see, at his celebration of life, my wife, Kim, and our two daughters, Hannah and Emily, witnessed firsthand the impact Wil had on others. No, Wil wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t a saint. Not saying that he was. Wil made his share of mistakes. We all do and Wil was no different.

But he was also a young man who made something out of the life he was given. Adopted from Guatemala at age seven. He struggled to learn the English language. He suffered from a learning disability, but he never let that hold him back. What I like most about Wil is that he brought a smile to others. He enjoyed laughing and causing others to laugh. Wil was a pretty sharp young man and I’m proud of who he had become. The day before he was shot and killed, Wil received a call informing him that he had received his dream job. He had been on his way.

So here is what we’d like you to do . . .

Simple really: Do something nice for someone. It can be great or small. A kind word. A kind gesture. Buy someone a cold drink if it’s a hot day where you live. Buy someone’s lunch or a cup of coffee if you have the means to do so. Hand someone a flower. Leave someone a smile. It can be anything you choose to do for someone else without any expectation of something given in return. It’s even possible you might not receive a thank you.

The only thing I ask, if at all possible and if you are comfortable in doing so, is that you explain you are choosing to do a Wil-Full Act of Kindness in honor of my son, Wil Lewis, who died four years ago. You may or may not have known him. You may or may not know me. That’s okay. But on July 12th you are trying to do something nice for someone, one small thing to lighten a load, ease a burden and lift someone’s heart.

That’s it. Pretty simple really. Simple, but I ask you to consider that if ten or more of us, a hundred or more of us do this on one day, July 12th, how much nicer that one day will be for someone.

And I’m also willing to bet that July 12th will be that much nicer for you too, for each of us. Because I believe that one can’t help but feel good and feel lighter by helping another soul, helping to make someone’s moment, someone’s day a little better.

So . . . could we try a Wil-Full Act of Kindness Day? Maybe? Perhaps? Thank you in advance for this consideration on behalf of my wife, Kim, our daughters, Hannah and Emily, and our son, Wil. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

About the photo: Wil was a fashion photographer. I don’t know who took the shot, but if I did, I’d be happy to give the person credit. This is Wil working on a photo shoot. It’s one of our favorite photos.

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe