Part 156- What is a leader?

What type of leader would I be? It’s a complicated question. A leader has many crucial qualities, and simply saying you have them isn’t what makes you one. Although we try to be leaders every once in a while, are we really? Is it called being a leader when you just step in and do something because no one else did? Or because you wanted to get an assignment done by the end of the day but no one chose to speak so you did instead? Are these examples proof of you leading and inspiring others, or simply acting for your own benefits? Before I go further, let’s rewind a few days to the origin of this question.

                                                

In my ELA class, we’ve started reading a class novel- really a novella- called Anthem. As it’s a Dystopian, we’ve started exploring the Dystopia-Utopia worlds and the elements from them that can be seen within our book, and others of the same category. One way to do so was a simple game we played on Tuesday. Upon entering the class, my teacher handed out two paper clips to each student randomly, regardless of size or color, and we had to keep them with us. We also had to give ourselves new names using a word from a given sheet and numbers after it. The rules of the game were simple. The pronoun “I” could not be used at all. If someone did, then the person who catches it first gets to take away one of their paper clips. In the end, one kid had more than 10 points, and the reward for the winner was that they could make three laws for our class. What laws do you expect 8th graders to make for a class? Well…some very interesting ones.

First rule: Two students, in particular, could not talk. ( Just for fun- no grudges against them.) Second rule: Anyone who had 4 numbers in their name could not sit and had to stand on their desks. Lucky me. I had 4 numbers in mine and got to have an excellent view of the classroom while standing on my chair. We never got to get to the final rule as the class was over, but these two were enough to ignite more chaos. At the end, we all calmed down and discussed how all the power going to only one person could be a bad thing. In this scenario, with the power to make three laws for the entire class to follow, that kid started thinking for himself. His first thought was to do something fun with it rather than something that might help the class. Of course, it was a fun activity, it was okay to goof around a bit. But what if it was a permanent thing. Would I really want to stand on my chair for a whole 45 minutes each day? Most likely not. These laws would only become irritating and would end up being a waste of something quite beneficial.

When I got home and explained what happened to my dad, he asked what I would have done. I openly panicked and couldn’t come up with three rules on the spot.

  • Anyone could choose their seats
  • Read the whole time
  • Have the annoying kids not talk

The same thing happened to me as well. In this situation, I started thinking about what benefits me. I wanted to sit with my friend, so I said that anyone could choose their seats. Although this is beneficial for everyone, my intention was not initially meant for everyone else. Reading is similar. Although it can be put into a situation that can benefit everyone, I only put that in because I would have wanted to read. If I was thinking about my peers, I could have given the reason to read so everyone can catch up on their books so they can be caught up in a reading, or in case they want to finish some extra work really quickly. The last one was just a random thought that came to my mind. In fact, I actually don’t want this rule to happen. As cheesy as it may sound, the chaotic/silly kids in my class are what make it fun and exciting to come to every day. So, if they were to be refrained from speaking, I doubt I would enjoy ELA as much. It might be more productive, but not as entertaining.

Then what should I have said? I could have said that we get 10 minutes at the start of class each day to focus on any assignments from another class or to catch up on reading for ELA. Being able to sit with our friends instead of having an arranged seating chart by the teacher. I could have also said that membrane shouldn’t be required for that week as many students forget to do it, including me, or don’t like it.

What is a leader? Or more specifically, who is a leader? A leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and brings people together to get to that vision. They can work towards making this vision become reality while putting people first. However, just motivating people isn’t enough. Leaders need to be able to be empathetic and connect with people to make it work. They bring people together towards the same goal. They are people driven by motivation and make a positive impact on the people around them. However, that’s not the only qualities a leader has.

  • Confidence
  • Humility
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Courage
  • Accountability 
  • Selflessness
These, and so many more, are what make up a good leader. However, I feel that leaders need to prove their  ‘worth’ before actually being called a leader. Sure, anyone can go around saying they put people first or they have honesty, but does that mean they are a leader? A leader doesn’t always need to speak to be recognized. It can easily be recognized in their actions, and the impact it makes on others. 

So, what type of leader do I want to be? I want to be a leader who can be trusted to help someone achieve their dreams or vision. I would say that would be my vision if I were to be a leader. I want to be accountable and be deeply trusted to help them reach that point. I hope to be someone with a strong goal, and a passion or determination to reach it by leading others in that direction. I want to be known for using that passion to achieve mine, and also those who I can help, their goal as well. That’s the type I want to be.

Part 156- Volunteering

When I was first told I would be volunteering this weekend, I agreed, mainly for two reasons. One, because my parents told me to. Two, I needed the hours for my school’s Silver Star program, and for the future. Before I tell you about what happened, let me tell you about a previous volunteer experience. 

{Source: students.1fbusa.com}
I had volunteered at a different event before for a different “group”, but my problem there was that I wasn’t very social. I didn’t talk to the people I was working with, or try to talk much with them. I wasn’t trying to be rude. I had only wanted to get my work done perfectly and ended up getting a little too engrossed in it to realize I didn’t talk much. I wanted to correct that, so at this next event I would be helping out, my goal was to interact and talk more. But, like I said, that’s slightly more overwhelming than what it should be.

Here’s the thing with me. In unknown/new situations, I’m the type of person to be very hesitant when it comes to the moment of decision. Times when I’m in a comfortable, more known situation, I’ll be able to give an immediate answer and be able to do things without doubting myself. But when I’m not, I start questioning every action I do. For example, reaching out and doing something, including helping people. I do want to step in and ask if they need anything or offer assistance, or even just do something. But I start questioning it. I plan the scenario in my mind, but for one reason I can’t do it. I have to internally scream at myself at least ten times to just do it, before I actually do it.

When we first arrived, there was this girl who was volunteering as well, and she complimented my dad’s truck. My dad then pointed out how she easily initiated a conversation. And that’s where my anxiety kicked in. I started getting nervous about my performance and behavior at the event. Despite all the tips and conversation starter examples my parents had given me moments before, I was still panicking about how to initiate a conversation. Seeing her do it so easily made me worry even more, and put even more pressure on myself to not mess up. This mindset resonated a lot within the first 2 hours or so of the event.

There were three junior volunteers that day, including myself, and so we had decided to switch stations if necessary. One would be in charge of the popcorn, another in the wheel-spinning prizes, and the other in the bouncy house. I started at the wheel-spinning game, and awkwardly stood behind the table for some time as people came in. In all honesty, I was really bad. Yes, I would greet each family and ask how they were, but I was so…stiff. I didn’t talk with emotion or make attempts to start a conversation. I also didn’t make that much commentary or tried hyping the kids for their prizes as much. It was like I was following procedures, and not a natural behavior.

After I and the girl at the bouncy house switched, I observed what she was doing. I saw how she would actually lean down and speak to the kids, and show them what they get instead of picking it out. I saw how enthusiastic and helpful she was to the kids. Instead of standing behind a table and motioning to things, she would actually hand them out and make small talk or commentary about it. Things I didn’t do. I realized that, and tried it out as I stood near the bouncy house. Although it wasn’t much interaction, I got to talk to a few kids and have fun with them.

After our next switch, I took in what I saw the other girl do and tried interacting further again. I tried making some commentary on what they won’t, and helping them with their prizes. I also tried making more talk with the adults and asking how their day was going or complementing them. And actually, because of this, one of my favorite moments of that day was made. There were these two ladies, and when they came to me, I complimented one of them on her bag. She was so happy at that moment and thanked me, saying that was nice of me. She then asked me for my name and in return I asked for hers. After that she and the other lady both thanked me for coming out to help. That moment made me feel really good about what I was doing. It made me more confident in what I was doing,and helped push myself to try and be better in what I was doing. That small assurance really boosted my confidence in myself and what I was doing at that moment, and really made my day. There was another gentleman who had also done the same for other volunteers. He told them he had googled the definition of awesome, and the picture of the volunteers was there. It was such a nice compliment, and it really made their day. 

After our final switch, the mood became more relaxed. By the end, I had dropped some of my formalities/stiff behavior and was more confident in talking and interacting. There are still a couple of things where I can improve upon, but definitely, by the end of the event, I had gotten better at interacting and helping out than before. Now, if I have to do a similar thing, most likely I will be able to have more confidence and knowledge about what I’m doing from the previous experience. Hopefully, it’ll be better as well. 

Another thing I want to talk about is the members of the fire department. Miss Suzanne, the president, and Miss Gretchen, the secretary, were both, along with many others, incredibly appreciative of the volunteers. There were so many times where they and other volunteers working would come up to me and check if I needed a break or some water or even if I wanted a chair. Despite the numerous things they had to manage, they still would come and check up and make sure I was doing fine or not. I was extremely grateful each time they did. Even though I politely declined each time, it was extremely thoughtful of them to come and ask if I needed anything. They also kept thanking me and the other volunteers for taking time out of our days to come and help them. At those moments, they never acted as firemen or a president. They were really just people who were appreciative of us coming and helping them even though we were busy as well.

Above all this, the biggest thing was volunteering. This experience has actually changed my own perspective on volunteering. Before I did this, like I said in the beginning, I only really wanted to volunteer for hours. It may be a bit selfish of me, but I had only thought of it that way. I didn’t realize what other importance volunteering had. Volunteerism is the “principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community as a social responsibility, rather than for any financial reward.” When people volunteer, they donate time and money that can help cover events such as the open house, leaving money the department can use to buy more or better equipment.

The purpose of this open house was for the firemen and members working there to create a closer relationship with the people, especially the kids, and even influence them into being a firefighter in the future. It brings the community together, and closer.

I also want to say how I think volunteers are amazing people. Not because I’m one myself, but because of how hard they work. One of the girls I was working with had a midterm on Monday, yet she chose to come and take valuable study time to help our community. Volunteers are taking hours of their days, helping organizations and people even when they can have jam-packed schedules, all because they want to do something for their community. They work hard and interact with each other, and that really shows.

So, to sum it up. As I had my second experience with volunteering, I got to see a different side of what it is that volunteers do. I saw what volunteerism really is, and why volunteers are so important. I also got to have a better experience and interaction with my community by volunteering, and hopefully will be able to go volunteer again.

Part 155- My failed attempt to convince my dad…

During a three day weekend, what is the one thing you want to do? Rest, and not do any work. And that is exactly what I wanted to do. Since it’s the end of the first semester, and a three day weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to not do much and just relax. And maybe even get out of writing a blog this week.

                                                 

Methods to have your parents agree with you ( and let you take a break from writing a post this week): 

  • Homework excuse
This is the first one that came to my mind. As much as this excuse may possibly work, it really just makes things worse. All I’m doing is giving myself more work and another thing I don’t want to do. Plus, parents will then be making sure you are doing your work, and then you will absolutely HAVE to do it. So, no.

  • Trading/Negotiation

Similar to the first one, but different. Instead of saying you have homework, try a negotiation. “If you let me not do any work for this break, I’ll work extra hard for the next semester. This break will let me clear my mind and loosen up. That way I can focus and work harder when school starts again.” Or, “If you buy me a new iPad, I’ll take digital notes which will be more organized. That way I can study better and do really well on tests.”

  • Tired/Resting or Pitying

“It’s a three-day-weekend, the end of the first semester, and I’m exhausted after all those tests. Can I please have a pass this week and not have to write a post? ” The resting excuse seems the least likely to be accepted, but it can work. If not, then try getting on their soft side. Exaggerate a little, not too much, in order to emphasize the importance of getting out of the work. Also, don’t lie. Don’t make up things that never happened to back your claims. That will only make it more unlikely to get your way. Use things that have happened, but add onto them. “Resting is really necessary for me this three day weekend. As soon as school starts, I’ll have even more work and I’ll get really stressed again. I won’t be able to sleep as much with all the assignments, and that extra day off will help me catch up on that missing sleep. Please??” Okay, maybe that’s a little too…cheesy, but you get the point. Highlight the key points where parents get soft on: seeing you work so hard, staying up really late, pushing yourself, etc. ( This is actually an excuse I’ve never used before. I’ve always thought of it, but I’ve never done it- not that I know of at least. )

  • Comparing

Compare it with something bigger to make it seem like something that can easily be said yes to. Compare with something of higher value, and then with what you want. Casually bring it into conversation, and then after some time ask them about what you want. They’ll be forced to compare it to the item with a greater amount, and are more likely to say yes.

  • Making the effort

This excuse needs some extra time put in. For me, when I want something my parents will usually decide based on my behavior or how well I’ve been doing in school. Based on this, I know that if I want something, I should put in a little extra effort so that when the time to ask them comes, their judgement will be slightly more lenient towards the answer I want. This one and the previous excuse may not go with getting out of doing something, but they could work if you want something. This could also work with the resting excuse. You could bring up those moments where you really pushed yourself to achieve something really good and how this break is a reward and boost for you.

  • Being honest

No matter what way you convince your parents, be honest. Or even just deadpan it without even trying to convince them. One, it’s safer. Instead of trying to butter them up, tell them what you want. Of course, not when they’re in a bad mood or at the wrong time. Time it right, and ask them. If you butter them up, they’ll immediately know something is up and you want something. Add some sugar, but not too much. Two, it shows how much you want it. Tell them clearly what you want and why you want it. With a solid reason of course. You can even give several options/negotiations as well. This way makes it easier for your parents and yourself to know what you want. Also, don’t get upset if they say no. Accept it, and know that it was worth it to try. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have known what their final answer would have been. Who knows. Maybe by seeing how accepting you are towards their answer, it could change their mind.

“ Is it okay if I just skip writing this week’s post? I know that it’s a weekly thing, but I really just don’t feel like writing one this week. I was hoping, since it’s the long weekend, I could just relax and not do anything until school starts again.”

Also, note that if there’s a negotiation, keep the promise. It’ll show that you really do care about what you receive, and next time you want something, they’ll most likely be likely to say yes. MAYBE.
I also want to put this out. Parents do want kids to want things. They want to make you feel that you appreciate and deserve what you get, and will look for opportunities to make your life better. The only part you need to do is ask. Ask the right way, and you will be rewarded.

Ha. Well this is awkward. I got tricked into writing a post this week. As you can tell, I ended up being unsuccessful with my reasons. Not only did I have to write a blog, but I also had to write one on how my fate ended up being this way. That’s okay though. At least I was able to come up with 5 other ways to hopefully convince my dad next time.

Credits:

Part 154- Ungrateful students

Kids have become so spoiled it’s unbelievable. Recently, or not too long ago, a new trend started to surge throughout TikTok. It’s been known as the “Devious Licks” trend, where students will go around and, usually from the bathrooms, steal or vandalize school property. I’m not talking about just toilet paper, but kids have been stealing sinks, toilets, soap dispensers, etc. Then they post themselves doing it on TikTok, showing how great of a feat it was. Not only is it sick, but it’s also incredibly selfish. But before I share my view, let’s see theirs. 

Lets’ first ask, Why would they do this? Obviously, for view, right? But what do they even mean? For a teen in today’s world, what do all those likes mean? Popularity, or even status. Think about it. If you suddenly started getting so many views for one video you post, wouldn’t you want to keep making more of that content to get even more? I know I feel that way sometimes. This would drive them to go for even bigger things. Perhaps even outside of school. But, why would they even do it in school in the first place? Why not at home? Well, for one, it’s riskier. By doing this, you’re defacing property and committing vandalism. These are all misdemeanors, or even felonies if what they damage is worth lots of money. Apart from that, it’s breaking the rules. You’re doing something daring, something others wouldn’t do. The adrenaline from breaking the rules and trying not to get caught also fuels them. 
They are literally stealing school property simply for views or to be part of a trend. Apart from that, what else are they going to do with it? Do they even think about the students who ACTUALLY need these items? What happens if a student really needs to use the restroom, but the soap dispensers have disappeared, or perhaps there aren’t even toilets! What do they do then? But what will happen if they aren’t even allowed to use the bathrooms themselves? To prevent students from damaging and stealing more property, some schools have gone as far as closing down bathrooms entirely for large parts of the day. Mainly it’s for cleaning as students have been drawing crude images and writing on the walls, or for the soap spilled all over the floors, but also as an attempt to control the situation. Some schools have increased security and supervision for this, and students must go to the bathroom in the nurse’s office, or have an adult go with them. Considering how busy the staff is, and the number of students who use the bathroom in a day, it sounds extremely uncomfortable. In my school, even with open bathrooms, we have to stand in a short line to use the bathrooms as so many kids have the urge to go. Those kids must have to wait for even longer, and perhaps a whole period.

Apart from it being stupid, it also shows how ungrateful and how much these kids have taken things for granted. What is considered common for us, is considered a luxury for others? Kids should be lucky to be able to have nice bathrooms every day while some don’t even get clean water. Thinking that it isn’t a big deal is absurd. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that others can. These kids are ungrateful to the fact that they can get these things easily while others can’t, and instead start wasting them for no reason. And not to forget that they actually think it’s funny. There are posts of posts saying how people are thinking too small in the licks and then they show off even worse items. They actually think it’s a friendly game that doesn’t mean anything. And to think people actually are liking this? That only makes it worse. It drives them to go for even bigger things and to keep doing what they’re doing. Traffic lights, other people’s vehicle doors, fire extinguishers, etc. Kids are trying to steal computer equipment. COMPUTER EQUIPMENT. Here’s a more drastic scenario. What happens when there is an actual fire in the school, but some stupid kids who were too immersed in a stupid trend stole the fire alarm? What happens then? Shame on those students who think of this as a fun trend, and to those who liked it as well. 

                                            

But, there is one part I really appreciate. To beat the Devious Licks, people have been doing Angelic Yields. Basically, kids go out and replace the stolen things with anonymous donations. For example, more rolls of toilet paper, a new faucet, more soap, etc. Some even just give some cash as a gift for someone to find. I really appreciate these students who go out of their way to correct the behavior of others. It’s a good counter, and I think the schools would also be grateful for those who do the yields. 

And then there’s regular vandalism. Writing and drawing inappropriate things on water fountains or on bathroom stalls. I have a few examples in my school. In one of the first-floor bathrooms, on the last stall in the girl’s bathroom, there are at least 10 scratched-out areas where curse words used to be. I think there are some new ones, but you get the point. There was also an incident that happened not too long ago. Apparently, there was some vandalism on a water fountain. 4-20 was written ( I’m not sure if it was written exactly like this) and during math, a few boys were all asking to go to the bathroom to see it themselves. The matter was resolved, but why would you even do that? What’s the point of writing a random date on the water fountain, or even drawing anything on the bathroom stalls? What does that even do? Are you trying to show off that you’re cool and know so many swear words? It’s really just immature.

Another thing I also want to include is school lunches. While it doesn’t exactly relate to the topic of vandalism, it does relate to kids taking things for granted. So, school lunches are free for the 2021-2022 year, and the number of students buying every day is unbelievable. In my school, for both lunch lines, there is a line of 20-30+ students waiting to buy lunch. And a little less than half of them aren’t genuinely buying lunch. Along with their own lunches from home, they buy a school lunch as well. I don’t have any problem there, but what really ticks me off is how these kids finish their entire school lunch and throw the uneaten lunch in the trash. At least take it home!

There are an estimated 14 MILLION kids under the age of 5 worldwide who suffer from malnutrition. Kids who are lucky to be able to have packed lunches every day, or lovingly made food from their parents simply throw that all away for no reason. I really don’t mind if they just leave it as is, but throwing it away? Parents go out of their ways to make sure you eat well for lunch, but their kids throw it away. What should I say… But then some kids don’t even finish most of the food they get from the school lunch and throw it away. It’s like taking advantage of the fact that you don’t have to pay. I personally dislike buying lunch, so I rarely buy. But when I do, I usually get a side of fruit with a meal and let me tell you. I try to finish everything I’ve gotten, but after 5 minutes of peeling a stubborn orange and finding out it tastes horrible, I couldn’t do anything but throw it away. There was also a time where my chicken sandwich seemed anything but crispy or chicken. It was a very vivid orange and had no crispiness whatsoever. I understand that, but some kids eat only half of their meal and throw it away just like that. Then why even buy it in the first place?! It upsets me how ungrateful people can be for things not everyone gets.

I think the main point of this blog was to show how ungrateful some students are. It shows when they do these stupid trends or vandalism, simply for views. These kids should see how other students in other countries live. They should see how lucky they are to have huge, resourceful schools, and be grateful. They should know that others are the same age as them and don’t get the same luxury. They need to see it themselves to know how stupid, and ungrateful they are when they do these trends. The same goes for kids wasting food. Be grateful that your parents put in time in the mornings to make home-cooked lunches or simply pack one for you, instead of throwing it away like it’s nothing. Because to others, it could mean so much more. Just be grateful for what you have. Not everyone has the same luxury you do, so don’t take advantage of it.