For a society inundated with messages of kindness, from the golden rule introduced in our elementary school years to the trendy “pay it forward” movement — which I, for one, became aware of in the early 2000s  after watching the movie  “Pay it Forward” — we are not really good at kindness.  We are not good at practicing it or accepting it. 

Now, that might seem like an overly cynical view. And, if you know me, it might seem extremely uncharacteristic of me. But, truth is — and we have to face it — we as a nation are not good at kindness. 

Examples range from the disgusting “lick a product and put it back” game that surged through social media not too long before the writing of this column. If you are unaware of this, basically people were taking the lid off of food items like ice cream, licking the top, putting the lid back on and putting the item back on the shelf to be sold to the unsuspecting.  And, yes, they videoed this escapade and braggodociously posted it on social media. 

Another example: go to the worldwide web and search the word “fight”. You will find video after video from phone-camera-clad people capturing violence. And if they are capturing it on video it means their first reaction was not to kindly help those involved in the situation. And then if you look at the number of views these videos have the number reflects how entertaining unkindness is to us. Readers, we are numb to the need for compassion.

Enter Crossett. Yes, this tiny town that is proving tat in a world of callousness, its people, you and me, still have heart. 

The news has spread that the Crossett High School football team made it into the championship playoffs. Their first game in that battle pitted them against Gosnell. The normal goodhearted rivalry surrounded that game, but something else did, too. 

Crossett Parks and Recreation hosted a warming welcome tent for Gosnell fans. After five hours on the road — and road hours are like dog years in that more than 60 minutes seem to be packed into every hour — the die-hard fans just out to root their town on, thinking they were about to trade a cramped car seat in for a cold hard stadium seat — in the cold, cold rain, no less — were pleasantly surprised by the warmth of heaters and hot drinks and the comfort of baked goods and the joy of hugs and handshakes. 

Crossett churches baked the goods and brought the cider and even staffed the tent with welcomers. Area businesses chipped in swag for bags full of Crossett goodies to pass out, Jones Funeral Home and Amanda Friedman State Farm provided the shelter. Every act was a growth of soul for those who participated. 

This tent not only gave our out of town guests a good ol’ Crossett welcome, it worked its magic also in those who gave. The conversation and community that took place under Crossett’s version of a big top won’t soon dissipate. And the thing about what kindness cultivates inside of us is that it grows until it pours out of us in other acts of kindness. And those acts are contagious.

In fact, a Gosnell football mom told us they would start doing this at all their home games next season. A future act of kindness planted by you, Crossett.  

So what happened two Friday nights ago wasn’t just under the stadium lights...under the tiny pool of light from a work light brought by a volunteer as an afterthought and rigged up to shine under our warming tent, kindness was created, passed on and its kind of Light —yes, that capital “L” is on purpose — grew. 

Stand proud Crossett, you are a part of greatness in a world seeming to dim. But even if our light is just a tiny work light of afterthought it matters. You matter. I matter. We matter, Crossett. 

Jump into future Crossett events by calling me at 870-500-0303 and finding out what is happening and what you can do to be a part it.

Sometimes its just to show up and be yourself because you are wonderful.

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