Changing the world a Dilly Bar at a time

It’s never too late to start, of course, but there are nowhere near enough people on the earth whose story makes you wish you were a better person.

John Carlson, 82, who died this week in the explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, was clearly one.

You can change the world with a Dilly Bar, we’ve learned in the various news stories since the explosion a couple of days ago.

That’s what he’d do.

“He would hand out Dilly Bars to students after school,” Grace Kirkpatrick, a student, told MPR News. “He’d always want to start up a conversation with you. He was super-helpful and would go out of his way to make your life a little bit easier.”

In an interview last year, Carlson, who went to work early the day he died, said he wanted to teach kids that an education is important, but so is leading a good life.

“Keep going. Do a good job. Get good grades. Have a Dilly bar,” he said.

We refer to these — incorrectly — as small acts of kindness.

“If I was having a bad day and he saw me, he’d give me a Dilly Bar,” Tory Kronschabel tells the Pioneer Press. “It doesn’t matter how cold it is, every kid feels better with ice cream.”

She’s set up a GoFundMe page to assist Carlson’s family and that of Ruth Berg, who was also killed in the blast.

At a prayer service on Wednesday evening, a graduate of the school handed out Dilly Bars.

These are not good times in the world. The crass, the greedy, and the mean have appeared to hijack the country’s goodness.

These are the times for a Dilly Bar and a recognition that we can be better people.

Update: Minnehaha Academy is holding a memorial service for Carlson on Sunday at 6 p.m. in the Lower and Middle School chapel. “His family will receive visitors prior to the service, from 4-6 pm. 4200 West River Parkway, Minneapolis,” the school wrote on Facebook.

  • MikeB

    “We refer to these — incorrectly — as small acts of kindness”

    A great point. These are simple, easy to do acts of kindness. But never small.

  • Al

    A good reminder to give some Dilly Bars today, metaphorically speaking. What a great legacy.

  • AL287

    Clearly, John Carlson knew the value of small acts of kindness and understood the struggles many teens face in their middle and high school years.

    It’s been shown that children who have a supportive adult in their life do better academically and socially are less inclined to fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse or give in to peer pressure.

    The school has lost one of its most valuable assets, a truly genuine and caring human being.

    A rare asset indeed.

    Open a door for a person struggling with packages. Let the person with a few items go ahead of you in the grocery line.

    Random acts of kindness help others and also boost your immune system and your mood.

    Do it today.

  • wjc

    It has been a difficult week for anyone with ties to Minnehaha Academy.

    It is a reminder to be happy, treat people with kindness and respect, and give your kids and spouse and other loved ones frequent hugs.

    John and Ruth will be missed.