This editorial was published by the Idaho State Journal of Pocatello.


Kaydence Cluff’s teacher at Ellis Elementary School in Chubbuck refers to her as “an awesome kid.”

We would like to add “inspirational” to that description.

Ever since the second grade, the 10-year-old Cluff of Pocatello has been donating all of her birthday gifts to Toys for Tots so that underprivileged kids don’t feel left out at Christmas.

Last year, she made local headlines when in addition to all of her birthday gifts, she donated $125 to Toys for Tots and she plans to organize a golf tournament fundraiser next year to generate even more presents for those who otherwise might find nothing under the tree on Christmas Day.

Because of Cluff’s kindness and good deeds, the national Toys for Tots organization honored her with its Order of Saint Thaumaturge Award earlier this month.

Cluff is the first child in southeast Idaho to ever receive the accolade and she’s well-deserving.

When an Idaho State Journal reporter interviewed her after she received the award at a surprise assembly in her honor at Ellis Elementary, Cluff broke down in tears and said, “I just feel bad for the kids who don’t have any presents to open on Christmas morning.”

Cluff said she’s honored to receive the award but she feels there’s more work to be done.

Just think about how better our community and world would be if we all were a little like Cluff. If we all put even half the effort she does into being kind, giving and compassionate to others, what a better place southeast Idaho would be.

Cluff is worthy of an award named after a saint because she’s definitely someone special.

While other children look forward to receiving presents as well as money on special occasions, Cluff has proven herself to be different than your average kid and a bit saint-like in her own right.

Telling all of the fellow students at your school to donate unwrapped toys on your birthday so you can give them to underprivileged kids definitely puts Cluff in a league of her own.

Gregory Thaumaturge, the namesake for the award Cluff received, was known for being responsible for many miracles during his time as a 3rd century Christian bishop — so many that his last name became known for someone who is a constant worker of miracles.

It would be a miracle if a little girl from Pocatello inspired her community to not just be thankful this holiday season but to put forth the effort to make our corner of the world a better place.

If a 10-year-old girl can bring Christmas joy to underprivileged children throughout the Pocatello area, the rest of us can surely do something, too.

There seem to be too many examples of the adults among us behaving badly these days and most of us could learn an important life lesson from Cluff.

Rather than yelling at each other at the courthouse, launching criticisms at each other during city council meetings or ruining someone’s day on Facebook, maybe those of us who are a bit older than Cluff can follow her lead in terms of her actions and behavior.

Be generous rather than selfish. Offer compassion rather than judgment. Provide a helping hand rather than a harsh word.

Thank you, Kaydence Cluff, for showing the rest of us how it’s done.

If we can all be more like you our world will surely be a better place.

And what a Thanksgiving miracle that would be.

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