What if I told you, I could change the world in seven hundred and fifty words? Please, take each word to heart.
When I was a young, naive, girl, my older sister had to go to vast, trite, high school. When she arrived home, I would always ask her how school went. One day, when I asked her, she showed me a little blue and gray machine. It looked like something you used to play an old Atari console. What was it? Ideas raced through my five-year-old mind. Could it play music? Does it talk? I had so many questions, but before I could ask them, my sister hit nine lettered-keys into the little gray box. Then, hit a small button towards the edge. I watched and waited for it to say or do something. As a little whirring sound began to echo from the handheld machine, a thin strip of white paper came out from the side. My sister grabbed it gently, and with a little tug, handed it to me. I flipped over the strip of paper, the front was sleek with bold black letters across it. I spelled the word slowly, w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l. I did not know the word, but my sister must have thought it was important for me to know and have if she was willing to waste her fancy machines paper.
Now, I know that those letters spelled out wonderful. This was my first experience with labels and label makers. Little did I know, I would live the remainder of my life alongside labels that were more malevolent and formidable than the one my sister made nearing ten years ago. The ones I would grow with were not created by handheld machines, they were created years before us but stuck like ink to paper.
At school, I had many great friends. I still do today. We followed the golden rule that was taught, “treat others the way you wish to be treated”. You would have never thought that a silly rule your second grade teacher told you would become so relevant. We were labeled what was called a “goody-two-shoes”. As a result, our circle of friends shrunk in size as we grew in age. Now, being nearly fifteen, I follow the golden rule as much as I can. It consequently comes with different labels.
Kindness gets you the label of being a “pushover”. But being rude, gets you the label of “jerk”. Avoiding all interaction earns you the label of “anti-social”. These terrible labels and names are created and assigned by the people I call “label-makers”. They are all of the self-proclaimed “cool kids” in schools. They were the ones who had the most people at their lunch table, had the newest most expensive clothes, always got the swings in grade-school. Yeah, those kids. They are the“label-makers”. The reality is that there is no way to escape “label-makers”. You just have to deal with them. But, another reality is that some do not know how to deal with these “label-makers”.
Kindness has always been America’s solution to bullying. Heed this advice from a high school girl that survived bullying herself. The reason the kindness movement does not work, is because people are afraid of labels. If they are kind, they will have labels plastered to them. Some of those labels may fade, and others may be stuck with them for the rest of their life. They are petrified of being labeled, so they keep to themselves. I was the same way. Stop the labels, then re-introduce the kindness movement.
I was your stereotypical nerd, until I changed the “label-makers” mind. I showed them I am smart, and strong. I broke through the label barrier. It was difficult, cannot disallow that point. That is what I believe people need to do. Labeled people need to impugn these labels.
It is very expected that people are terrified of labels, but the only way things will change is if people shred their wrongfully assigned labels by proving the dreaded “label-makers” amiss.
Throughout this last five or so minutes, I have been trying to prove the point that labels are abhorrent things. I have told how to defy these labels and their makers. How to break through label barriers. I have told you what to do and how to make the kindness movement work. Now, all I ask of you, is to spread the message, and heed what was said in these last seven hundred and fifty words.