Today, I spoke at Longwood Junior High School, sharing the story of my son Rees and the mission we’ve embarked upon to spread kindness and compassion. After the assembly, a young man named Steven approached me and thanked me for coming to his school and sharing our story again. His words touched me, but I belatedly realized he said “again.” I must have looked puzzled; this was my first time speaking there. Before I could say anything, he said something that took me aback: “I remember when you came to my elementary school. I never forgot your story. Thank you for sharing the whole story today. I just wanted you to know that it’s made a difference in my life. Thank you, Mr. Specht. I’ll never forget Rees and your message. I can’t wait to get more cards.”
Those words hit me hard. You see, as much as I believe in the message we’re spreading, there are times when I question whether it’s all worth it. Am I making a difference? Is anyone really listening? But Steven’s words were a powerful reminder that even if we only reach one person, that person’s life can be changed forever. And that’s worth it.
I wanted to tell Steven so much more than just “thank you.” I wanted to tell him about the doubts that sometimes plague me, the fears that maybe I’m not doing enough, the struggles of reconciling the world I see with the world I want to create. But in that moment, “thank you” was all I could muster. And sometimes, that’s all we need.
Thank you, Steven. Your words were exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for reminding me that every small act of kindness can make a big difference. Thank you for believing in our mission and for being a part of it. And thank you for being an example of the kind of person we hope to inspire others to be.
The world changes one piece at a time. And with every person we reach, and every heart we touch, we move one step closer to a world where kindness, compassion, and love are the norm.
We can make the world a better place, one Rees’ piece at a time…


RICH SPECHT is an author, public speaker who advocates for kindness.  Rich authored the award-winning children’s book  A Little Rees Specht Cultivates Kindness.  He and his wife, Samantha, are the co-founders of the ReesSpecht Life Foundation which they formed in the wake of the loss of their only son, Richard Edwin-Ehmer (Rees) Specht at 22 months old.  The acts of kindness that the family received after Rees’ passing inspired them to “pay forward” that kindness; which the foundation does in the form of scholarships for High School seniors who demonstrate a commitment to their community, compassion, and respect, as well as the distribution of more than seven hundred fifty thousand ReesSpecht Life “pay it forward” cards.  

An animated television series featuring the themes and characters from Rich’s books is in the works.  The book and television adaptations of A Little Rees Specht Cultivates Kindness represents the culmination of Rich’s goal to help make this world a little better, one Rees’ piece at a time.  Rich currently resides in Sound Beach, New York with his wife, Samantha, daughters, Abigail, Lorilei and Melina as well as his angel above, Rees.

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One response

  1. Awesome to hear your timeless message about kindness and Rees is still resonating Rich. When we make ripples in a lake, they move away from us, but they go a long way and in all directions…

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