Ornament on our tree- T Bar M Camps motto
This is a beautiful story about the difference one family is making by spreading the sound of kindness in the midst of heart-wrenching tragedy. It is born out of their own personal tragedy of the loss of their young son Ben. Tonight Ben's Bells will be featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in the "Making a Difference" segment. Ben's Bells ring for kindness:
The depth of pain we were experiencing was beyond description. Every parent’s worst nightmare was our reality and we didn’t know how we would possibly survive. More than anything we just wished we could die. Perhaps we would have died if not for Matthew. He was still alive and he needed us as he had never needed us before.
Slowly, we began incorporating coping strategies into our lives. We came up with a design for Ben’s Bells and started making them in our back yard studio with friends. The therapeutic effect of working with clay was amazing as was the power of being surrounded by people talking and working toward a common goal. We decided to make hundreds of the Bells and distribute them randomly in our community to encourage the kindness that we so depended on to get through each day. Since Ben’s death, it had been the kindness of others, strangers and friends, that had helped us begin to heal. We wanted to find a way to pass on that kindness and to help others in the process.
On the first anniversary of his death, hundreds of Ben’s Bells were distributed throughout Tucson, hung randomly in trees, on bike paths, and in parks with a written message to simply take one home and pass on the kindness.
The ripple effect that followed was wonderful and startling. Individuals finding the Bells had stories to tell - lots of them - about grief and healing and hope. Our local newspaper printed the story - front page - next to fast breaking news of the recent war in Iraq. School groups and businesses and individuals began calling to see how they could get involved and in no time, hundreds and hundreds of Tucsonans were involved in crafting Ben’s Bells.
Ben’s Bells symbolize kindness and its power in healing. We hope that they will touch others’ lives and help to make our community a more gentle place to live. We are so very grateful for our community’s incredible enthusiasm for the project and we know that we can make a difference.
Jeannette, Dean and Matthew
In memory of our beautiful boy ...
"I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love..." Hosea 11:4