Thursday, August 22, 2013

What Are You Waiting For? -Francesca Coyne Introduction

Hi! I'm Francesca Coyne, and I'm a student at the Downingtown STEM Academy. I am a firm believer in the fact that small, random acts of kindness can go a very long way.

The Beginning

     During last school year, we were given an assignment that required us to create a Public Service Announcement. I had been waiting for such an opportunity for a while, so I took it and ran with it. The topic I chose was "Random Acts of Kindness."  I spent the Saturday after the project was assigned purchasing flowers and giftcards, and, later, I left them around my neighborhood with notes attached to them that read, "Smile, happy looks good on you! Please accept this random act of kindness, and have a wonderful day." I also went to a few local franchises and paid for the people in line behind me. Everything I did was anonymous. Each time I performed a random act of kindness, I stayed behind for a while to see people's reactions. It was so rewarding to see people smile! The most rewarding part of my experience was that I got to be the start of a chain reaction. I could see that my acts of kindness were starting to spread. For example, a neighbor of mine posted a picture of a gift card she received on Instagram. Automatically, about 150 people saw what I had done, and it inspired them to go out and make other people happy. That was the moment that I realized that I wanted to be an advocate for random acts of kindness. It's not hard to make someones day, and it feels amazing to know that you are making a great contribution to the world. Lunchbox Notes is the perfect way to do that.

Why Wait? 

    The question that I keep asking myself is, "What were you waiting for? Why did I wait this long for an opportunity to present itself? Why didn't I have the courage to go out and just do it?" I kept asking myself why it took me so long to realize that it's better to be happy, and its better to put myself in a position where I want to make other people happy, too! I wondered why it took me 16 years to make the decision to start changing the world, because let's face it: if you aren't doing anything to help make the world a happier place, you are just as bad as someone who is trying to keep the world in a dark place. So, I decided to ask my little siblings a couple questions. I recorded their answers, and this is how the conversations went:

Conversation with my 6-year-old sister:

Me: Do you think there are people in the world who might be sad?

Sister (S): It's a happy life, so, probably not.  There are probably SOME that are sad but... not really.

Me: Do you think that you can help the sad people?

S: I don't know where they are. I don't have the money to go to find them.

Me: How do you make someone happy?

S: You cheer them up with a present or something they really need.

Me: Do you think you have to give someone a present to make them happy? What makes you happy?

S: Being with my family, everybody that I have to play with, and my friends.

Conversation with my 9-year-old sister:

Me: Do you think there are people in the world who are sad?

Sister (S):  Well, yeah.

Me: What's stopping you from helping them?

S: What is a fourth grader supposed to do?

Me: Well, what is a fourth grader supposed to do?

S: I can't solve world hunger or stop global warming or anything. It's too big of a job for a little fourth grader like me... If I wanted to stop puppy mills I probably couldn't because there are people who want puppy mills for money.

Me: Are you happy? How do you know?

S: Yes. Because there is a feeling inside of me that tells me I'm happy.

Me: Is there anything else stopping you from making sad people happy?

S: I don't have any money and I'm just a fourth grader.

Me: If you could do anything in the world to help sad people, what would you do? If you had all of the money and people in the world?

S: Bring in helicopters and shoot down confetti and play music!

Me: Do you think it's hard to make people happy?

S: No...well sometimes. If they were like super duper duper unhappy.

Me: So then what do you do?

S: Try super duper hard to cheer them up!

Me: If you could send a message to the whole entire world what would it be?

S: Love each other.

My Conclusion

It's a shame that my little siblings have already been affected by limitations. They said they don't think they are capable of accomplishing great feats because they don't have money or a ton of supporters, and they think they are limited by there size. They believe they are smaller and younger, therefore inferior. They have the desire and ambition to do amazing things, but society has forced them to believe that they have to wait until they are older in order to start changing the world. That's where we fail. The smartest, most optimistic, and most honest people in the entire world are kids. Why don't we shoot down confetti and play music? Why don't we all love each other? Why do we keep saying to ourselves, "It's not that simple," and give up? It's about time we put our heads together and made it that simple. Simplicity is key. That's what makes these kids such geniuses! They know how to live simply.

The Biggest Misconception

You don't have to have money in order to do a random act of kindness. There are a MILLION different ways that you can spread joy and make someone's day that don't involve money:
  • Be sincere - Tell someone to "Have a great day", but don't say it because its the polite thing to do, do it because you mean what you're saying! 
  • Smile - Something as simple as a smile can be seen from miles away. A smile is contagious and smiling will automatically make someone feel better.  
  • Let someone know they matter- Remind a person of their significance. Because everyone need to know that they are important.
  • Offer to give someone a hand- go out of your way to do something that means something to another person. 
You can help promote happiness in the world with those ideas and so many more. I dare you to take the Lunchbox Notes Challenge! Get out there and perform a random act of kindness. 

OH! and one more thing.

Love Each Other.

Francesca Coyne
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