New Year’s Resolution: Be Kind
Why resolutions should help the greater community
As each year comes to an end, many people make resolutions in an effort to better themselves in the New Year. Some aim to lose weight or improve their grades. People make resolutions to “improve” their lives. However, it’s debatable as to whether or not the underlying objective is to rather change themselves for more superficial reasons.
While it’s great to improve, recent events have made 2018 the time to shift the main focus off of oneself and onto the world. Many attempt to participate in the holiday spirit of giving. School drives and service projects increase, and people talk about issues in the world. But often these efforts are self-centered and turn into feel-good projects like bragging about a donation or sharing a link to an article. Although the intent is often good, these do little to help people and make it seem like people are making a bigger change than they are. Many middle schoolers expect to be praised for helping others, but the real community service is not about the helper. It is about the work.
When everyone reflects, they must think about the rest of the world. Not just how the resolution helps one person, but how that one person can help others through their resolution. The school community is full of privilege and resources, and that can be channeled to make real change, rather than the often empty promises one makes to oneself every year. Everyone should reflect on how they make resolutions and channel their focus towards the community. The holiday spirit of giving should not just be service projects. The school community should also think about helping on our own campus. A simple way to do this is being kind to others in their day to day lives. It can seem less glorious than big service projects or sharing a post online, but being kind on campus matters. The words people say can actually affect lives. Simple things like just helping people pick up books or sharing an umbrella make a difference.
Students have been told “be kind” since elementary school, and now they often roll their eyes when they are reminded to do so at assemblies. It seems like a fundamental skill, but as students experience peer pressure and independence as they get older, remembering these values becomes more complicated than it was in Kindergarten. Everyone is capable of being kind, and it should not have to be a large sacrifice to think twice about what one says. Nevertheless, students have consistently used slurs and vulgar language on the bus. The deans have tried to address the issue, but it still exists and makes many people very uncomfortable and hurts them. Cursing can make students uncomfortable. Moreover, slurs are offensive and hurt people’s feelings. One can never tell who else is on the bus, and no one can simply get up and leave if he or she is offended. The words might not feel like a big deal to the speaker, but they carry painful weight that is deeply hurtful to many. People know it is wrong because they do not act that way in front of teachers, so why should they act that way when it is just students?
Students stop wanting to ride the bus or drop out of activities due to offensive speech, so it clearly has a real impact. Everyone deserves to feel safe in the community. Students are very insecure and struggle with their identity in middle school, which makes students more likely to say offensive things to fit in and makes phrases more painful when students hear them.
Another common example of how students hurt each other is roasting, or jokingly making fun of someone. Roasting each other can be fun, but it is easy to cross the line. Many students are not comfortable saying they felt hurt, so everyone should work harder of being aware and respecting their friends’ limits.
As people grow older, they rarely regret bad tests or the weight they gained in comparison to the people they hurt. Everyone holds power over others and must work together to make a safe caring environment.
So here’s a simple new year’s resolution: Be kind. And please do not cast it aside like every other resolution because it can make a real difference.