“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Kindness changed my life.

As an insecure fifteen-year-old, I felt invisible in the chorus of a summer-theatre program until an assistant director took me aside to offer thoughtful words of encouragement. When she surprised me by thanking me for leading my fellow chorus members, she made me feel recognized and genuinely appreciated just for being me. Her simple act of kindness changed my perception of who I thought I was. Suddenly, I believed that I had value to offer the world regardless of my status—in a theatre production or any other context. I truly believed in my ability to make a difference.

Despite its profound power, kindness is often inhibited by myths. Pessimists and cynics decry it as taxing. Others mistake it for charity by the weak and the bleeding hearts. They doubt its capacity for change and accuse its believers of naïveté.

They are wrong.

The times I have shown kindness are the moments when I have discovered my own greatest strength. By simply comforting a loved one, befriending a lonely classmate, or encouraging others to believe in themselves as my director encouraged me, my own character has developed much-needed patience, perspective, and hope. Through kindness I have realized the best in myself and, I hope, inspired the best in others. In my life, I will show kindness to others and will confront the myths that suppress it. I hope that my kindness will improve others' lives. I know that it will continue to improve mine.

— Kristen Forecki