The lectures we heard today were very interesting for me. It was easy for me to relate to and also it gave me more ideas of what I could do to make my dreams come true.
In the morning, we went to the Halcyon House to listen to lectures from people who support social entrepreneurs. They told us that they believe in supporting individual entrepreneurs. By this, the individual entrepreneurs will feel confident with themselves and they will keep doing what they believe is positive for the community. They hope these things will inspire others to help the community in their way, too. I thought this shows connections between people in society. It is really important for people to know that they are part of the society and that they can do something to change it better.
What I thought interesting was “The Thinking Room” for people who don’t work well in front of desks. I thought this was a great idea because there is a lot more diversity, compared to countries like Japan, in America. There are many different kinds of people and I think it is great to respect their ways.
Afterwards, they told us that everyone can be social entrepreneurs. We just need to identify the problem, then come up with a solution for it. For the solution, we need to put some creativity. Before, I had always thought it was hard to become a social entrepreneur, though after I heard this lecture, I thought I might want to start looking at things critically and questioning things to become a social entrepreneur. Also, I thought I should step out of my comfort zone more because you learn most when you make mistakes.
When I heard his story, I remembered about the earthquake and tsunami that happened in Sendai, a few years ago. I was living in Australia when it happened so I was not directly affected by it. At first, I didn’t know how it affected people in Japan although after some time, I started to understand and think of what I could do. I thought that I could raise some money for it so I decided to collect money from my school and donate the money raised. I did a speech in front of the whole school to inform students about this disaster and I gave paper cranes that I folded to students who donated. A paper crane symbolizes hope and peace in Japan. I gave them these to show that it was a great help for my home country.
Also, when I was in Australia, I was in a community circle named St John Ambulance. There, I learnt some basic skills to help people who got suddenly hurt. I wasn’t able to continue it in Japan though I would love the opportunity to do some volunteering for my community again.
In the afternoon, we heard a lecture by Ms Mary Beth Tinker. She told us about equality, justice, and peace. I learned that children have power to change the society and they have more power to change the society than adults. When she read us a letter from a child who was bullied, I reflected towards my own experience. When I lived in Australia, I was bullied by people in my grade because I didn’t have an Australian citizen. Most of my friends turned their backs towards me and they wouldn’t talk to me at all. It hadn’t been long since I left Japan so most of my ways of thinking were “Japanese.” They weren’t the type of people who would say what they felt, strongly towards other people and I didn’t either. This led to being bullied and I couldn’t tell them that I was very hurt by their actions until I finally went to a friend who wasn’t involved in this and she went to get a teacher for me. At that time, I was scared to say my opinions out loud. Even after, I got bullied many times and I started to realize how important it was to say my opinions out loud to other people. Now, I try to say my opinions to other people because they won’t be able to understand if I don’t tell them with words.
In this lecture, what stood out to me was how Ms Tinker told us that “Life should be fair.” She told us that life is supposed to be fair for everyone and we should fight for our rights. She fought for her rights herself when she was a child, and she went all the way to the Supreme Court for her case. She also told us that when someone speaks up for a better society, someone else even if it may not be during your time will appreciate for your doings. This gave me courage and I think now that I would want to step up and speak out to make the society a better place. A great example of that is Jehanne Darc. She is a girl from France who ran a troop. It was unbelievable at that time because she was young and a female. This didn’t stop her and she spoke up for her country. In the end, she was burned to death. Her ending was very depressing although people nowadays know her bravery. I admire her very much because she sacrificed her life to speak up. I want that courage, too and even if I might not be able to make a huge difference when I am in high school, I thought that I might want to at least give it a try. Making an impact to the whole school may be difficult though volunteering for the society might be something I could do. After all, like she said, “Little things can make a big difference.”
The last speaker was Mr Andy Shallal. He was a social entrepreneur who started a restaurant to connect people together. He wanted to make a space where people could discuss about the society.
One thing we discussed about that I took interest in was how young people communicate nowadays. Many use Social Networking Services (SNS) to communicate though I, personally, don’t think it is a good idea. While texting is a really easy way to contact people far away instantly, one can’t see their facial expressions. I think this leads to a lot of misunderstandings. Thoughts that one was thinking while texting the other, may not reach the other in the way it was intended. This, I think, is a really big problem which is why I like to talk directly rather than through SNS. Mr Shallal agreed with my opinion and he told me that the restaurant he made was a place where people could speak their opinions directly to one another and it was one of the reasons why he started the place. I was really happy to know this because it gave me a sense of connection and I felt more confident with my opinion.
In conclusion, I feel great gratitude towards the speakers of today. It gave me power to speak up my opinions and I am determined to discuss more about the society. I want to hear more opinions, too.
Keio SFC High School