I remember when I was young, my elementary school held a “Random Acts of Kindness Week.” Each day we were challenged to do a random act of kindness.

I would do things like compliment my friends, hold the door open for others, and help teachers carry supplies to their classrooms. At the end of the week, everyone got pencils that said, “I am a Peacemaker” on them to commemorate their good works.

Since receiving that pencil, random acts of kindness have been prioritized in my life. That week in elementary school showed me the difference I can make through random acts of kindness, even when doing them isn’t an official week-long celebration.

Practicing kindness may seem like an obvious thing to do. However, it is overseen and forgotten by many. Too often do we view kindness as something that is already a part our personal agendas, when most of us really fail to complete the simplest opportunities that come around to be kind.

Utah has one of the highest rates of suicide in the United States, with 578 suicides per year, according to Utah’s Public Health Data Resource. In 2015, suicide was the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 10 to 17.

As someone who falls within that age range, I have experienced many suicides of peers in my lifetime. And this is the leading reason why I make random acts of kindness a priority in my life.

As Martin Kornfeld said, “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”

Although suicide is a monumental problem in Utah, something as simple as a random act of kindness could prevent it. Hate is the base of negativity, yet it is one of the most prominent things spreading around the halls of our schools. Random acts of kindness can combat hate and reduce suicide rates in Utah if everyone makes it important.

You could do anything from from surprising someone at school/work with lunch, to helping someone pick up a pencil he or she dropped. The point of a random act of kindness is to perform an act of kindness that you initially may not have done.

Sometimes these random acts are so thought-out that they aren’t random anymore. The true benefits behind random acts of kindness come from the mindset that is, “Treat others how you want to be treated.” For example, a great way to perform a random act of kindness is by improving your patience. If you want others to have patience toward you, you must be patient toward others.

These acts of kindness will improve you and those around you. Always act as you want others to act toward you and the environment you live in will become more positive for everyone.

Receiving kindness from others determines whether a day is good or bad for many people. Random acts of kindness can significantly affect the rates of bullying and suicide.

I challenge everyone, as my elementary school did to me, to perform a random act of kindness each day to strengthen your own happiness and those around you. Kindness, big or small, has the power to change and solve many of the issues in today’s society.

Jessica Wojciechowski is a junior at Clearfield High School. She is a black belt and is involved in many clubs. Email her at Jessica.wojo22@gmail.com.

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