Rachel, was the first student killed at Columbine. She and a friend had gone out to the courtyard, to eat lunch, when the boys came out of the school shooting. She was shot 4 times while wearing her backpack. The period before the shootings happened, her teacher saw her drawing a picture in her journal. Her family has labeled it as "Rachel's Tears" If you notice, the tears seem to be watering the rose, but when the tears get the flower, they turn to blood. There are thirteen blood tears, the same number of people killed only a few hours later.
She was a vibrant girl who just a few weeks before wrote this essay for school, that her parents found, a few weeks after she was killed. She had so many goals for herself, and others. Her family wanted to share Rachel with the world. Rachel left her family six journals. In turn, they have started Rachel's Challenge, challanging kids, and adults, to be better people. Here are they 5 main points, as well as my perspecitve on them.
1) Eliminate Prejudice by looking for the best in others. Columbine was a result of bullies, and prejudice. I have always thought of myself as an openminded, non -prejudice person. I had many african american friends growing up. I saw nothing different about them. I've always tried to accept people with obvious disabilties. But I am prejudice. I judge people by an ugly shirt they are wearing, and because their hair is unkept. How am I any better than the bigots, who judge people because of the color of their skin. So I accept this challenge. I will work on judging people just because their style is different than mine.
2)Dare to Dream. Write down goals- Keep a journal. Well I'm a dreamer that's for sure, and this blog, I'd consider this a journal, but I need to write down my goals. I know I'll accomplish more, if it's written down. And I heard long time ago on Oprah, to set goals for your life. And then when you are making your to do lists for the day, only do the things that will help you reach those goals. I did it a long time ago, and try to stick to it, but I need to write them down, and make SURE I'm doing it.
3) Choose Positive Influences. Input determines output. I think I've done pretty well at this thoughout my life. It sure is easier as an adult though. But I have to say, I try to be friends with lots of different people. A really cool quote I heard at the assembly was, "Don't let your character change color with the environment. Find who you are and let it stay in it's true colors" I LOVE THIS!! I may "hang out" with different kinds of people, but I try to stay true to myself. For instance, people at work, are David Cook fans... but I am definitely not switching sides!! ;) Oh I'm kidding, but really, I know people who have a different "voice" when they talk to different people. Maybe that's different, I don't know. But I do believe, and try to live, that we need to be who we are, in all facets of our life, and not change colors, when it's convenient. We need to stand up for what we believe in.
4) Kind Words. Small Acts of Kindness = Huge Impact. I have been a fan of this for years! But it's good to be reminded over and over. I remember O, was on a random acts of kindness kick years ago. She went to the toll booths, and paid everyones toll for the day. It was fun to watch, but really, one small thing, impacted a LOT of people. Whether it's meeting someones gaze, and smiling, wandering around the mall, or saying GOOD MORNING! to folks you encounter when you're on a walk , or offering someone going into the grocery store, your cart you are finished with, all of these things make an impact. At work, I try to finish a call, calling them by name. Small thing-Huge Impact. When someone does something nice for me... it makes my whole day better!
5) Start a Chain Reaction. The moto for Rachel's Challenge is, "You just might start a chain reaction!" There's not much I can add to that.
This beautiful girl lived her short life by these rules. She told her family and friends many times, she wanted to change the world. I told you she kept a journal, but she was also very artistic. About 6 weeks after she was killed, the police realsed her backpack to her family. In it, they found her last journal. On the back cover she had written, "I won't be labeled as average." Check out the picture. The hole by the binder is from one of the bullets, and now acts as an exclamation point!
About three years after her death, the family was moving some furniture in her room and found this behind her dresser. If you can't read it, it says, "These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will some day touch millions of people's hearts." When they found it, their assemblies HAD reach millions.
One last thing, after her death, people kept telling her family how much she meant to them. They heard all kinds of stories, but one that touched our hearts was about a boy who had been teased a lot, and Rachel always made a point to talk to him in the halls, and he felt like she was his only friend. When the presenter first told us about this boy, he said, " He was born with some birth defects that made him look a little different, and he had a few learning disabilites." I started to BALL. The tears just streamed down my face. We all know how I hate glimpses into the future. Well, at one point, Nick looked up at me, and had tears in his eyes too. Of course this set me off even worse!
But see, all Rachel did, was give him the time of day, and made him feel like someone thought he was important. He told her family, the first time she talked to him, he had been plnanning that weekend, to taking his own life, but changed his mind, when she stuck up for him, and became his friend. Not only do I want to be like this, but I want Jack to encounter people like this everyday of his life!
So I challenge YOU to take the challenge! Go the website, find out about having an assembly at YOUR school! I only hope you will be half as inspired as we have been!!