Steph Martin

Stephanie Martin, a writer and editor in Colorado, has two teenage daughters.

Boston—Despite a difficult week, with tragedies in Boston and then Texas, Americans are focusing on generosity, unity, and hope. After Last week’s attack at the Boston Marathon finish line, local District Attorney Dan Conley said, “Moments like these, terrible as they are, don’t show our weakness; they show our strength.”

First responders—medical personnel and bystanders alike—ensured that victims were transported to hospitals quickly. Civilians offered comfort to badly injured victims. Some racers kept running to go donate blood. Local residents offered their homes and food to strangers. Most Americans seemed resolved to not let threats interfere with their daily lives.

On social media, two posts went viral, encouraging faith in humanity amid senseless tragedy. The first was by the late TV host Mr. Rogers, who said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

The second was by comedian Patton Oswalt, who expressed frustration at the “mayhem” but pointed out that good people far outnumber the bad. “You watch the videos of the carnage, and there are people running toward the destruction to help out,” he wrote. “Like white blood cells attacking a virus, [the good people] dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak.”

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The family of a newlywed couple who each lost a leg in the attacks released a statement saying that although the bombings “shook our faith in humanity,” all the support they’re receiving restores it.

Dr. Joe Stavas, who helped with triage after running the marathon, described the difficult recovery ahead. “I see this like getting through a marathon, and we’re on Heartbreak Hill. This will be a long struggle, but I’m sure it will be overcome with more good Samaritans.”

Sources: bostonglobe.com, cnn.com, upi.com

Discussion Questions:

  • How does a week filled with such heavy, negative news leave you feeling? Does such violence destroy or restore your faith in your fellow humans? Explain. What perspective does such a difficult week offer you about your own life and trials?


  • Why do you suppose such tragedies tend to unite Americans—at least for a while? Why do horrible experiences seem to bring out the best in people? Does that mean we should welcome trials and tribulations despite the pain they inflict? Why or why not?


  • What type of mindset does it take to be willing to run toward danger instead of away from it? How do you think you’d react in a situation such as the bombings, and why? To what extent should people consider their own safety when other people need assistance?


  • What type of “helpers” do you turn to when life is a struggle? To what extent do you try to be a helper to individuals who are hurting? What risks and rewards have you experienced from getting involved with strangers’ lives?


  • In your opinion, are people inherently evil and selfish? Explain. Do you agree there are more good people than bad in our world? Why or why not? How might we be able to lessen the effects of evil among us?


  • In what ways is our earthly life like a marathon? How can you keep running, even when life knocks you down? How can you finish the race strong and win the crown?

Scripture links: Joel 2:25-27; Acts 4: 32-35; Romans 1:28-32; Philippians 4:8-9; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; and 1 John 5:1-5.

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