Mallory - American Falls, Idaho
Entered on December 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Since I was young, kindness has been implemented in my home. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you was taught at an early age. Sharing, helping with chores, and serving our siblings was always encouraged.

As I began to test the idea of kindness in everyday activities, I tried to reach out for those who were struggling, and I encouraged them to show that I cared about them personally. This helped me form lifelong friendships. I strived to be the peacemaker, always smiling. When playing sports I would put into action kindness along with competitiveness. I would push teammates to be better, but encouraged them saying, “You’re doing great!” if they were frustrated, and I always respected my opponents. Doing so allowed me to look at sports as an obstacle of hard work and determination, while being kind to my teammates and opponents.

The first weekend of my senior year my whole outlook of kindness changed. I was helping my sister’s prepare for their final rodeo when my horse stumbled, stepping through his reins, falling on top of me, tearing my ACL. I felt as if my life had come to a pause. I couldn’t play sports my senior year. While going through this hard time I continually asked myself, “Why me?” I had worked so hard to be the best athlete I could be, and it was taken away when I wanted it most. Little did I know, this experience was evolving me into the person I am today.

The first day back on crutches I was smothered with kindness from friends and family. I was depressed, but they were always offering a helping hand. I tried to keep a smile on my face but slowly began to think only of myself, and how miserable my life was. As I struggled, others went out of their way for me. What I did unto others, they did unto me.

Kindness took a new toll in my life. As others affected my life unknowingly, through simple acts of kindness, the importance of kindness hit me. I was experiencing it. I took the challenge to return the favor and be kind to others in ways I had never done before. Since I was the odd one out I searched for ones like me. I did so by being a math tutor, walking slowly through the halls saying hello to anyone, finding the lone student in my classes and becoming friends with them, and encouraging my teammates from the sidelines.

Believing in kindness has made me realize that people won’t remember you for how many goals you scored in a soccer game, or how many points you averaged in a basketball season, but they will remember how you treated them. Through reverse psychology of an attribute I had been taught my whole life, I realized that simple acts of kindness changes a person’s life. It changed mine.