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Schoolkids Sing Happy Birthday in Sign Language to a Deaf Caretaker and I'm Not Crying, YOU'RE Crying

I’m sorry for posting something that feels more like it belongs on your mom’s Facebook page, but not sorry. The country is a fractured, polarized, divided, hysterical place right now. With an election coming up in which the two sides are either calling each other either Hitler or Stalin. Protesters and counter-protesters are screaming that the other side are Nazis or Communists and harassing non-combatants in the streets. Pipe bombs are being sent in the mail. We can’t go a week without a mass shooting. I woke up to a headline about a group of middle schoolers who planned to kill classmates and drink their blood. We need this more than we need oxygen right now.

This is one of those times when you need to be reminded of the basic goodness of humankind. And there is no better place to find it in abundance than in nature’s most perfect creation: The heart of a child. I just can’t stop watching this video because every I do, it feels like I’m topping off my soul’s empty tank with high-octane compassion. The look on the caretaker’s face when they surprise him. The ear-to-ear grins on their faces reflecting the gratitude in his eyes. The childlike sloppiness of their sign language, reminding this working man he’s loved and appreciated. The birthday guy trying to keep it together. And succeeding better than I did, believe me. It’s a much-needed reminder of our shared humanity at just the right time.

I’ll end with a quote from a guy who comprehended this and explained it better than anyone. So much so that they made a documentary about him that makes you profoundly sad. Not because his life wasn’t one of total positivity – it truly was – but because watching it reminds you of your own shortcomings as a human being: Mister Rogers. “The world needs a sense of worth,” he said. “And it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.” Mission: Accomplished, kids of Hickerson Elementary.

I’ll need a few minutes to let this sink in and then I promise to get back to the business of having laughs at the expense of the terrible world we live in. I promise.