Flexing the kindness muscle

If our youth are afraid to do good in public for fear of being mocked, as a recent survey has found, perhaps it is because we as parents have neither given them enough training nor served often enough as role models

Amid the stream of news reports after the recent El Paso shooting in Texas, one story caught my eye and warmed my heart. The day after a gunman killed 20 people in a Walmart store - two more victims later died of their injuries - young Ruben Martinez turned his distress into a force for good.

The 11-year-old challenged "each person in El Paso to do 20 good deeds for each other" as a way to honour those who died and to help his community heal. He detailed the "#ElPasoChallenge" in a handwritten note with suggested random acts of kindness, such as mowing a neighbour's lawn, visiting a nursing home and leaving a dollar inside a vending machine to surprise the next person.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 18, 2019, with the headline 'Flexing the kindness muscle'. Print Edition | Subscribe