1392185_80828960Yesterday was devastating.  I began to think that after the tragedy at Newtown, our country had finally hit its breaking point.  I was pretty sure that violence had won and that more and more of these stories would be told.

Today it seems I was right, and yes, it is true that violence continues. But if the trends I see on Facebook and Twitter and all around me in response to the explosions at the Boston Marathon are any indication, violence has not won.

Hope is making a huge comeback.

At times like these we wonder “what good can come from this?”   The only answer is from you and me.  There are many reports and  examples of folks who refused to let senseless violence have the final say. But you don't have to be in Boston to make a difference.

There is a great quote from the late Fred Rogers making its rounds again, as it did in December.  Mr. Rogers says that as a child, he was told that in times of distress he should "Look for the helpers."  It is a beautiful quote and has helped countless people remember that even though hatred tried to destroy, love rushed in to protect. But I personally think that looking for the helpers isn't enough.  You and I are in positions of influence.  We are leaders.  We are called to BE the helpers.

I may not be in Boston today.  I'm not a world figure or a solider or in any position to change the whole world.  But I do have a sphere of influence in which I can encourage and help hope to flourish.  That sphere encompasses my family, my co-workers, my friends, my students and more.  As a fitness professional, I have the unique opportunity to nurture my  students. I might even be an anchor of normalcy to a participant who is suffering and just wants to keep it together.

What can I do in my classes?  I can foster the virtues and values I wish to see more of in the world:  respect, dignity, patience, empathy, charity, generosity, integrity.  These can grow right along side mental and physical strength in the hands of a caring coach. It can be something as simple as the encouragement to "get strong today so that you can be strong for someone when they need you most."  Even just a hug or a smile or a high-five can be enough to make someone's day.

On a day when the world is hurting, be the helper.  Be a healer.  It might mean sacrificing a little bit of your own needs to provide for someone else's.  Reach out to do something for another human being not because it is your job, but because it is the right thing to do.  You have no idea how far one act of kindness can reach.  It could go so far as to prevent the next tragedy from occurring. That's what I'm hoping for.

Originally posted 2013-04-16 11:11:19.

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