Why I’m Tackling My Topic, and My Golden Circle

I think the biggest and most obvious takeaway from Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk “How great leaders inspire action” is “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This phrase is repeated numerous times throughout the speech, and it’s purpose seems to be aimed at the idea that belief inspires much more than results and numbers and what something does. I think this sentiment is true in almost every case possible, especially when it comes to trying to create change. If I told you that I was tackling the issue of stigmas against youth struggling with depression, and tossed around a few numbers, you might be slightly intrigued or think it was important, but you wouldn’t act on it. I think that what I just described perfectly encapsulates what I’ve been doing so far. I’ve searched my topic, know more about it, but I’m not causing change. I’m not inspiring anyone to go out their and help solve this conflict. If I’m going to make change, I need to tell you why I’m tackling this issue. Everyday at my school I see someone who’s going through a rough time be mocked, ridiculed, and stereotyped. No one is pushing them into lockers, no one is insulting them to their face, this isn’t physical or verbal bullying. This is social bullying. Rumors are spread, assumptions are made, biases are formed, and suddenly students decide that someone’s weird, and choose not to interact with them. This type of bullying doesn’t sting like an insult, or leave a bruise like a punch. This type of bullying leaves someone feeling like they’re worthless, and creates a crater of self-blame. One way a community in the Netherlands is trying to make a positive change for people living below the poverty line is by person-centered integrated approaches. This means teaching each specific person on how to best help an individual. I think if you apply this idea to students on helping friends out in need, many more kids would be able to overcome depression. The way my school taught us was to tell an adult and they’ll solve it all. By no means am I saying don’t tell an adult, but a lot of the time kids confide in their friends, because they trust them for advice. (I don’t know how your schools might have taught it, but I hope it was better than mine.) I believe if we can teach a student not only to tell an adult but also positively impact a friend in need’s life, we won’t only shrink the depression rate in youth, we’ll make our future generations better friends, role models, and human beings. But still after hearing all this you still may not be inspired, so let me just say it. I want to stop kids, students, friends, from feeling worthless. I want them to stop feeling like they’re the reason people don’t like them, feeling that their is something wrong with them. I want every kid to be supported, and reassured that they have value, and are loved by people who they trust in. This will happen when everyone understand what depression is and at the least a taste of how it feels to be depressed. I believe more thorough education is required about depression to achieve this dream, and people who struggled with depression in the past should talk to student about how it feels.

 

Hunter, Ela. “Ten Ideas for Creating Systemic Change.” NewStart, 15 Feb. 2015, newstartmag.co.uk/articles/ten-ideas-creating-systemic-change/.

 

Image from BoscoAnthony.com

Evan McMahan

4 Responses to “Why I’m Tackling My Topic, and My Golden Circle

  • Colleen Kiley
    5 years ago

    Evan,

    My favorite line from your post is “this is social bullying.” Those four words are so succinct and powerful. You are saying it how it is; it’s honest and powerful. You are using your voice to convince people and THAT is your “why.” Similarly, your last few sentences are powerful because they get to the heart of the issue: “I want every kid to be supported…” Very engaging.

    One aspect of your topic that I’m confused about is the idea of students telling an adult vs. telling a friend when they are depressed. You said “…positively impact a friend in needs life.” What exactly do you mean by that? Do you want students to be trained in how to help their friends? How exactly do you see people helping their friends? Do you think friends of people with depression should go to an adult or try to help the person themselves?

    I think you’re on the right track with looking to education as a solution. Keep up the great work!

  • Hi Evan! I think you have a great “why”-it certainly inspired me! I notice how you highlight what you want to end as well as what you want to begin. “I want to stop kids, students, friends, from feeling worthless. I want them to stop feeling like they’re the reason people don’t like them, feeling that their is something wrong with them. I want every kid to be supported, and reassured that they have value, and are loved by people who they trust in”. I think this is great because it addresses many sides of the issue.

    I also think it’s really interesting how you mentioned the whole “tell an adult” thing. This is something that I have been taught my whole life, inside and outside of school. Do you think that people find it harder to tell adults than peers when there is a problem? If so, how can we feel more comfortable telling adults, or how can peers be able to get the help their friends need? A club was started at my school a few years ago called Peaks and Valleys, in which students come together, with a school counselor, and talk about the highs and lows in their lives. I have never been to the club, but people who I know have said it is a great experience to share their worries, doubts, troubles, etc. in that supportive environment. I wonder if this could make it easier for children and teens to share depression, or really any difficulties, with adults, as they are also surrounded by friends who they feel comfortable with.

    I really enjoy your posts and look forward to reading more!

  • Hi Colleen. Let me clarify on what I mean by “positively impact a friend in needs life.” I think that kids should go to adults, or as my school puts it “a trusted adult”. However I think that a lot of the time a kids most trusted person is a friend. It may have more impact to have them try to help than a counselor, or teacher, or even a family member. If the problem is that kids can’t help in situations like that, as well as adults do, than why can’t we educate students to help like adults do. I think by turning “trusted adult” into “Trusted person and support of adult” will help kids who suffer from depression a lot. As for how I see that impact from a trusted friend. It’s mostly about telling someone their value. Telling someone their future. Letting it be known how they are worth so much more than they might think. If kids know how to do that in a responsible way, then I believe many kids could overcome their depression easier. However I know that it is also stressful to be put in that situation as a kid. You’re being asked to act like an adult and are given the most important responsibility in the world, a human life. This is why it’s also important to be supported by an adult. This way a trusted friend can have the support of someone who can deal with responsibility better. Sorry if that’s confusing I tend to write as the ideas come to mind, and the organization can be lost to my methods. Thanks, Evan!

  • Hi Katherine! That Peaks and Valley’s club sounds like an amazing idea, and is just the sort of change that I believe should be implemented. That idea of both adults and children creating a net that supports people in a great environment seems awesome. I think that if a club like that would be implemented in every school, many more kids would feel comfortable talking about their depression. Thanks for sharing that club, I think it will really help me with this topic. Thanks, Evan!

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