Our Story

About 5 weeks after Chris passed away… out of the blue… I got a phone call. I answered it, and it was a local teacher from Bristol, TN. He said that he had some 5th graders in his P.E. class who were not being very nice to one another, and he asked if I would consider coming down and sharing Chris’ story with them, as he thought there might be something positive there for someone. When he asked me that, I told him that I just didn’t think I could do that (as I was afraid I’d get too sad and emotional talking about Chris), so I said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and I hung up the phone.

But then, I started thinking… “what if there was just one kind – somewhere – who could get something positive from Chris and all that he went through,” so I eventually called him back. I said, “Mr. Arrington, I don’t really know what to say, but I’ll try.” He said, “Great,”… invited me down, and my Dad went with me.

When we got there, I was petrified – because it was the little tiny kids (K-5th grade), and I’m just not very comfortable with that age group (as my background was more with Middle School and High School kids). So, we did a short little program and told them about Chris and how he treated everyone, and when we got to the end of the Program… I didn’t get all upset and emotional (so I was really glad about that). However, when we got to the end of the Program that day, I had NO CLUE if those little kids had understood a single word I’d just said, as they were SO little!

So, Dad and I headed back home somberly reflecting about Chris. However, when we got there, an anonymous message was waiting for us from a student that was apparently at the Program that day – that said something to the effect of, “Thank you for sharing the story about Chris. He seemed very nice. I think I’m going to take that Silent Strength Pledge for one day in his honor.”
And that was it. That’s when everything changed for me. That message… at that time… not only helped to lift me back up onto my feet during a very challenging time, but it also ended up making a positive change in the direction of my life’s path as well (giving birth to Chris’ Silent Strength Kindness Presentation). And all it was – was one positive statement from an elementary age kid, who to this day, we still don’t even know who it was.

I believe with all my heart and soul, that our words have the power to do 2 things:
1. I believe they have the power to destroy people’s lives
2. I believe they have the power to breathe life back into people.
I hope we’ll all choose the second… more often than we do the first.

In addition, this is why our son, David, has been working SO hard on creating YouUplift.com and why our daughter, Ginny, has been working SO hard to try and get it out there via social media. It’s a place where anyone can go to try and uplift someone else with an anonymous positive comment (perhaps doing for someone else… exactly what that little kid did for me and my family.)

I think sometimes we forget – just how powerful our positive words are to other people… and when we might change someone’s life for the positive forever.