26.  In simplest form, it is a number. Look a little harder and you’ll recognize that simple number represents many things in this world. 26 is the atomic number of iron…the jersey number of  former NFL cornerback Rod Woodson…the number of letters in our alphabet…the age at which males can no longer be drafted in the United States. Sadly, 26 will now also bring to mind the number of people left dead after the awful shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school last Friday.

As our nation collectively wrestled to cope with the news of this tragedy, NBC news journalist Ann Curry tweeted her own personal struggle, complete with the inspirational thought: “Imagine if we all committed to 20 acts of kindness for each child lost in Newtown? I’m in. RT #20Acts if YOU R in.” Her idea took off and, wow, was the country in! People from all across the United States, as well as the world over, jumped on the bandwagon to honor the memories of each person lost.

People perform acts of kindness all the time – in big ways and in small ways – but those acts are often overlooked because it’s the horrific news that more often steals the headlines. Ann Curry recounted her experience at a hospital in Darfur where the simple act of taking pictures of mothers with their children brought smiles to their faces – and to hers. Remembering the impact of such a simple act inspired her suggestion of the “26 acts of kindness” campaign (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/18/15999109-if-you-do-good-youll-feel-good-ann-curry-explains-origins-of-26acts-of-kindness?lite).

News of these wonderful acts of kindness can be found everywhere. You can check it out for yourself at #26acts on Twitter…or, better yet, start your own 26 acts of kindness today! Let’s put a positive light back on that simple number that now means so much more to so many after last Friday’s tragedy.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse Greek slave & fable author (620 BC – 560 BC)