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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rachel's Challenge

Last weekend a horrific tragedy took place in Memphis. It has been on front pages around the world and has been termed the Lester Street Massacre. In a residence on Lester Street police found the bodies of six men, women and children. Most had been shot, but stabbings occurred as well. Three critically injured children were rushed to a hospital from the murder scene. They are expected to survive, and they are in protective custody. One was a 10-month-old baby.

How does this happen? What produces this kind of rage? This city has not been singled out for tragedy, but it’s a fact that the Memphis metro area recently ranked first in violent crime. There have been several shootings inside Memphis schools this year as well. City and school district leaders talk about metal detectors and more police.

I ask a foolishly simple list of questions. Whatever happened to families? What happened to values and character? Whatever happened to the kid who thought: “I can’t do that. My parents would flip.” I suppose the final question would be: Whatever happened to parents?

I don’t like to complain without offering something positive, so I want to share the following. I read this on a blogger friend’s website last week. What would happen if we all started a chain reaction?

Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Her acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation for one of the most life-changing school programs in America.Rachel's Challenge was initiated by her father after reading Rachel’s many diaries and essays. She was a compassionate young lady, always the first to step forward to accept a new student at Columbine or to eat lunch with someone who had been ridiculed by other students. Beginning this month, schools in Boise, Idaho will start participating in Rachel's Challenge. A speaker from this group will teach students about compassion and encourage them to take Rachel's Challenge. The core of the program is based on a single essay written by Rachel for a class when se was only 17. Her Code of Ethics:1. Eliminate Prejudice by looking for the best in others2. Dare to Dream - set goals - keep a journal3. Choose Your Influences - input determines output4. Kind Words - small acts of kindness = HUGE impact5. Start a CHAIN REACTION with family and friends

Read more about Rachel’s Challenge at:

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