Friday, March 16, 2012

Waiting for the World to Change

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Dear Mr. President,

                My name is Naomi Kodama. I am currently an 8th grader at Parkway West Middle School, and I am writing to you today to share my thoughts about change.

                My desire and hunger for change was probably most reinforced by my father, Edson A. Kodama. He works for JCI, a non-profit organization, that's goal is to encourage young people to create positive change in their community. This influence impacted me greatly the day of my 7th birthday in 2004. On the very day of my birthday, a violent earthquake and tsunami hit the Indonesian region, taking countless lives and affecting an infinite number of people. With this tragedy in mind, I then told my father that I wanted to help these people, so that year, for my birthday, instead of receiving presents, I asked for people to give me donations to a campaign called "JCI Operation Hope" Every year after that, I've donated to Nothing But Nets, a donation campaign by the United Nations, received the 25th Champion of Nothing But Nets award last year, and done everything I can to make the world a better place, and I hope that others can as well.

                I am certain that it's something everyone has in common, the fear of change, even when we know things are corrupt. People tend to be afraid of losing something they like or enjoy because of alterations in their life. So unfortunately, we are usually overprotective of the status quo, regardless of the current situation. But change isn't always quite as dramatic of a thing that a majority of people see it as. Change can go from switching schools, to getting new glasses, to rebuilding the US economy, yet the tentativeness of people not wanting to change seems to blind people from seeing the positing impacts that can come from these changes. Great examples of this are the protests against Facebook going public. Facebook, the largest networking site with over 845 million active users, a network community about two and a half times as big as the US, just recently invested in their Initial Public Offering. However, like any other change that Facebook makes, there were several protests on this similar to those in 2006 when Facebook launched what was at the time the newest addition to Facebook - News Feed. Just one day after News Feed was launched, a protesting group called "Students Against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook)" consisted of 284,000 members. Several college newspapers also picked up the story the day it was created with some titles such as "Furious with Facebook" and "Facebook Fumbles with Changes". But where are these complaints now? Everyone's come to accept the News Feed concept, and all systems normal. Clearly people are very capable of adapting to change. Therefore, bringing changes to the world themselves shouldn't be that difficult. Being afraid of the unknown, not to mention my generation's great fear of making mistakes, doesn't help anyone.

                For example, there have been studies where 400 5th grade students in New York City were given the choice between taking either the short and easy test or the more challenging one. Half of these students were praised for "being really smart", and the other half for "having worked really hard". This study showed that most of the students who had been praised for being smart took the easier test in order to get a higher score, clearly worried about failing and therefore losing the praise. 90$ those praised for being hard workers chose the more difficult test, willing to take that risk.

                The result of this experiment illustrates what our world will become if we let it. Those who are told that they are intelligent will look at life's struggles and take the easy way out simply to get a "better grade", or a better reputation. What these students should have realized is that it is only those who never do anything who never make mistakes. If you just take the easy route for everything, our world and our country will never advance. If they don't, nothing can and will change for the better, and we'd just stay in our comfort zone, a place where people wouldn't dare to venture into the unknown.

                Mr. President, there is a particular quote that I greatly admire from you, "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." A quote that shows we could, and should, all consider in our lives. I remember that time, a few years ago, when you brought a spark of hope to our country, a powerful flame that lightened the hearts of countless people. You managed to prove to us that change is not a bad thing, and that we need it. You were going to help us get there, and you did. However, we know that your current term for presidency is coming to a close, and many people are bickering about the lack of change. That once glorious and lively flame is slowly flickering more and more as the number of flammable things around it decreases. What theses people, and the people in generations after, should realize is that change is not easy, and nobody can accomplish anything on their own. But Mr. President, what you did that inspired me most is your persistence and determination. You never gave up, despite the complaints going on. You're running for reelection, and therefore reviving that dying flame, taking care and watching it grow. So bring the power and hopes of change to the hearts of people again, and show that they, as US citizens, can create a change of their own as well. It doesn't take a millionaire or a celebrity to create an impact. As I always like to say, "It takes one small step to cross a line. One small step to reach a place. One small step to reach a goal. It takes that one small step, to make a difference."

                Thank you very much Mr. President for leading our country, and inspiring me to do what I can to make our world a better place.



Naomi Kodama

Parkway West Middle School

Chesterfield, MO

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