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Linn County Leader - Brookfield, MO
  • Don’t Curse the Darkness, Shine the Light

  • Those of us who keep journals containing our most personal reflections don’t do so with the conviction that our thoughts will change the world; we regard those writings as the private dialogue he have with ourselves and God. And while 17-year-old Rachel Joy Scott probably regarded her journal in much the same way, she r...
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  • Those of us who keep journals containing our most personal reflections don’t do so with the conviction that our thoughts will change the world; we regard those writings as the private dialogue he have with ourselves and God. And while 17-year-old Rachel Joy Scott probably regarded her journal in much the same way, she recorded one entry that may very well become a self-fulfilling prophesy that helps a heartless world save itself. Rachel wrote: “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.”
    That sort of infectious good will also apparently promotes humility. Just listen to Cody Hodges, the former Texas Tech Raiders quarterback who held the record for number of passing yards in 2005 and led his team to the Cotton Bowl the following year.
    During his address to a group of Marceline R-5 student leaders last Monday, Hodges made one vague reference to the fact that he played football for Texas Tech, and he said nothing about playing in the NFL. He was at Marceline R-5 for a higher purpose, Rachel Scott’s purpose, God’s purpose: to promote a love affair with everybody, a universal bond of caring so strong it could never be broken by a senseless act of violence...
    Rachel Scott was the first person killed during the 1999 massacre at Columbine H.S. But Hodges told the Marceline R-5 student leaders that rather than dwell on the specifics of Rachel’s death, he wanted talk about her life and her challenge to live compassionately.
    And rather than continuing in his former football role as a player, Hodges had come to Marceline R-5 to do a little coaching away from the gridiron; his purpose was to offer direction to the school’s student leaders to help them organize as a team that dispenses kindness rather than blocks and tackles.
    “Our goal should be to make a positive impact and help create a culture of compassion,” Hodges explained to the R-5 student leaders. “We’re not an anti-bullying program. I won’t tell you what not to do; I’m here to help you do kind things.”
    Referring to Rachel’s challenge to start a chain reaction of compassion, Hodges affirmed, “It’s possible to make the world a better place, and you can do that by putting kindness, compassion, and respect for others into practice, by reaching out to help others.“
    The former Texas Tech quarterback continued, “Look for the best in others rather than find fault by focusing on their failings. Labeling someone a ‘bully’ won’t change them for the better...If someone’s acting like a bully at school, it’s usually because of something that has nothing to do with you. The person bullying may be going through a rough time. Hurt people hurt people. Maybe bullies are really afraid deep down inside. Maybe no one has reached out to them. They weren’t born a bully and had no intent to become one.” Hodges reminded the student leaders, “Talking to people is more productive than talking about people. What you say can hurt or heal others. At the end of the day, we all want to feel like we matter.”

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