A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing some of our orders for shipment and I saw some wristbands that intrigued me.
They said “Only 7 Seconds” and had a web address.
I remember thinking, “what takes only 7 seconds?” and in less than 7 seconds, these wristbands did exactly what they were designed to do… I opened my browser and went to the website I saw on the wristband.
And I really liked what I saw. I think you will, too. Their message of love and hope is a perfect way to head into the Christmas season.
I sat down with Kristin Wall, the founder of Only 7 Seconds, and her executive assistant, Haleigh Engles, so they could share about the work they are doing at www.Only7Seconds.life.
RW: Tell us about the name… where does “Only 7 Seconds” come from?
Haleigh: While Ethan was sick, Kristin asked him to type out “How are you?” on his phone and timed it. It took him seven seconds to do so.
Kristin: Last February Ethan (my 14-year-old son at the time) got very sick. He was bedridden for 23 days, missed Regional Basketball championships and over the course of 23 days not one single teammate or friend reached out to him. I watched him go into depression. It made this momma’s heart sad, but I also was upset. These boys are boys I've fed and treated like sons for years. . . and not a single text. And I can assure you that they scrolled through their phones for hours every day. After dealing with my momma bear anger, I realized that it wasn't for a lack of caring. It was for a lack of thought. They just haven't been taught or they are so wrapped up in their own world that they didn't stop to think how impactful a quick 7-second text could have on someone else's life.
RW: Do you see this as a society-wide problem?
Kristin: Yes. Since then, We've had three local girls attempt suicide. And in November a 23-year-old mom took her and her 2-month-old baby girl's life. In a small town of 500, this seems to be a pretty staggering amount and yet it is pretty typical across the nation. Suicide, depression, anxiety, and mental health struggles are rampant. Because of everything my family went through with my son and what our small town faced, I felt led to create a movement called #only7seconds. It is a movement where people stop to think about using their phone to give hope and encouragement and to let others know they are being thought of. It's simple. Kindness. Thoughtfulness. Taking seven seconds out of your day to send a text telling someone that you are thinking about them.
RW: You’re right. People are already on their phones all day, why not spend some of that time making the world better?
Kristin: Exactly. We aimlessly hit “likes” on Instagram, send a Snapchat, and scroll through Facebook, yet so many of us don’t take seven seconds to text a short message telling someone that they matter and that you care. You never know if that text could be the one thing that gives someone that inkling that life is worth living.
RW: Who do you see as your target audience?
Haleigh: All people! Something we say around here is that anxiety, depression, isolation, and suicide do not discriminate. They affect everybody - even if indirectly. If you haven't personally struggled with any of those things, statistically, someone in your family or someone you know has. We hope to encourage those that follow us to reach out to those around them, and through that, lives will be saved and a strong community will be cultivated around hurting people.
With that said, we have been working diligently on getting into school clubs and programs. We recognize how deeply lonely our current generation is and we are trying to fight against that by getting into the place that most kids spend most of their time, in the classroom!
RW: We made wristbands for you, and they did their job. I was intrigued by the message on the bands which led me to your site and discovering that I love what you are about. How else are you trying to raise awareness?
Haleigh: We raise awareness through what we call “challenges,” and we have several of them:
- Our 31-day challenge has been implemented in schools around Chelan, Washington! It’s a resource that school counselors have used to get students involved in spreading kindness.
- We have a #7secondstickynotes challenge. This is where we encourage individuals to write an encouraging message on a sticky note and place them around their community. We have seen an overwhelming response to this!
- Our t-shirts and hoodies have become a conversation piece for our mission! We've received some incredibly touching stories of how our apparel has opened up space for people to talk about their struggles.
- Our Instagram, Facebook, and Website have “call to actions” and statistics to help educate people on how to get involved and show up for the people around them!
RW: How can our readers support your organization or join your movement?
Haleigh: Our biggest hope is that people would support what we are doing by answering the call we put out. CHECK ON YOUR PEOPLE!
It’s so easy to go through your day without executing the action of thoughtfulness.
We strongly urge people to STOP the scroll, SEE the need, and SEND the text!
Readers can also get involved by heading to our website (www.only7seconds.life) and filling out our “join the movement” form.
From there, someone on our team will get in contact with them!