Have you ever wondered if the nice things you do for others really matter? Do you sometimes feel like you try to do nice things for others and yet no one appreciates it?
As humans, we're supposed to treat each person with kindness. As a teacher, I always try my best to do this. For instance, I start the year off by writing each of my students a personal letter, and each day when students come in to class, I try to welcome each one with a smile and be as helpful as possible.
It's not always easy, though. Take teaching, for instance. There's always the kid that I try five times to help, but he'd rather pick the staples out of the handout I made for him and use it to carve monsters into his desk. Or the kid who yells at me for her essay grade even though I spent over 20 minutes of my weekend writing helpful comments on her paper so she could redo it for more credit. Or the kid who always forgets his pencil, refuses to do the work unless I give him one, and never says thank you or returns it. These are the times when I have to take a few calming, deep breaths before I respond.
It can be the same with family or friends, too. You save the last piece of cake for your big brother and he eats it right in front of you and then burps in your face. Or the friend you gave your last $5 to and she never paid you back.
The point is, sometimes you try to be nice, and it doesn't seem to matter. But, does it?
Aesop, the ancient Greek writer who wrote fables like The Tortoise and the Hare, seems to think it does matter. And I have to say, I do have some reasons to agree. Just this week, I got a surprise email from one of my most annoying former students. I taught him over 4 years ago, and he always complained about how easy and boring the work was and if he got less than an A on a paper, he blamed me for not understanding what he wrote. I kept my cool, but he drove me crazy. How could he not appreciate all of the times I tried to help him and all of the times I tried to get to know him as a person? He's in college now, and in his email, he told me he wanted to apologize for all of the trouble he caused. He explained that he was going through a lot but now that he's older and at a better place, he wanted to tell me thanks for believing in him and being nice to him.
I was shocked. It made me realize that being nice does matter, even if the person doesn't say thank you (or waits four years to say it!).
Renegade Thought of the Day: What about you? Do you think doing something nice for someone is always worth it? Why or why not?
Renegade Challenge: Do something nice for someone who you think won't say thank you. Then, wait a while (maybe even a few years) and see if it was worth it.
Bonus Video: Watch how one anonymous guy made 88 strangers' Mondays a little less miserable:
There are two types of parents in the world: those who, when they find out they're expecting, plan the baby's name before it's born, and those who, on the other hand, wait until they meet their baby before they make their final decision.
What do you think? Do you think that a name matters? For example, could you look at a new baby boy and tell whether he should be named Bob as opposed to William? How would you know if the name you picked was the right one?
One of my favorite novels, The House on Mango Street by Mexican-American writer Sandra Cisneros, is about a young Latina girl named Esperanza who doesn't think her name quite fits her. She was named after her great-grandmother, who was forced to marry a man against her will. Esperanza, however, wants a better life for herself, and wishes she could pick her own name--something that would show who she really is inside, the part of her that "nobody sees."
Renegade Thought of the Day: How did you get your name?
Do you think your name fits you?
What do you think Esperanza means when she talks about her real self inside of her, "the one nobody sees"?
Renegade Challenge:If you could name yourself, what name would you pick and why? Bonus Link: Click here to see what your name means, how many people have your name in the US, and what you did in a past life!
Bonus Video: Check out the Ting Ting's That's Not My Name: