You know the old sayings, the ones you learned as a child and repeat through the course of your life, to yourself or to your children or grandchildren:
Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Fifteen-year-old Andrew Figueiredo has heard those things, too. But he hasn’t seen much evidence that people, particularly his teenage peers, truly believe or live by those words.
“I saw all these cyber-bully pages on Facebook – pages where people would bash on each other and call each other names,” said Andrew, a freshman at East High School in Wichita.
“I guess I just wanted to combat the rudeness.”
Last week Andrew launched the Wichita Compliment Page, a Facebook community page devoted to positive affirmations and old-fashioned niceties.
People can send compliments – signed or unsigned, with a photo or without – to Andrew or the other page administrators, who then post them on the page and tag the people being complimented.
In less than a week, the page had 236 likes. It started with Andrew’s friends but spread quickly.
“It was mostly East students at first, but now I’m starting to see people I don’t even know,” he said.
Here’s a sampling of the posts:
When so much of the social media universe is negative – insults hurled, feelings hurt and reputations shattered with a couple of thoughtless thumb-clicks – the Wichita Compliment Page is an island of optimism and goodwill.
Or maybe most kids, teens and adults, when given the chance, actually prefer kindness over cruelty. Maybe the Wichita Compliment Page is a more accurate reflection of reality than all those stories of cyber-bullying and social media nightmares.
“I would like to tell people that it’s the perfect place to spread kindness and caring,” Andrew said.
Thumbs-up to that.