Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Your deeds are your monuments.

Recently Starbucks changed their sleeves to reflect their new Upstanders series. The sleeves show a definition of the word upstander {as shown above} as "a person who acts to make positive change." I absolutely love this. Needless to say, when I first saw the new sleeves, I freaked.

I didn't know much about the Upstander series, so I decided to do a little research. The following is written on the Starbucks Upstander website:
"Upstanders is an original collection of short stories, films and podcasts sharing the experiences of Upstanders – ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities. Produced by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the Upstanders series helps inspire us to be better citizens."
Some of the stories featured on the site include a group that helps troubled teens turn their lives around through service, a town giving full-ride scholarships to its graduates headed to college, and a business who employees people with autism. Each story includes an article, a video, and a podcast. You can even nominate an upstander.

I absolutely love everything about this campaign. I love that they highlight people doing good things in their communities. I love that they are promoting their series on their products for everyone to see. The simplicity of the definition of upstander on the sleeve is so powerful and informative.

I think it's so important that people with power, people with voices that many listen to, use their celebrity to promote good things. Whether they support a certain program or charity or nonprofit, or whether they just go out of their way to perform simple acts of kindness to encourage others to do so is so important.

Upstander actually isn't technically a word, but we can all figure out what it means based on the context of it. We know that upstanding citizens are people who do good things, good deeds. While kindness and generosity are important, an upstander is also more than that.

Upstanders should also be people who stand up to injustices. Whether it's a child who sees another child being bullied and steps in or someone who intervenes in an argument between strangers, upstanders are people who step in for the better. I actually originally wrote that upstanders are people who aren't afraid to step in right there but changed it because that's not necessarily true. You don't have to be fearless to do good deeds. Sometimes it takes the most bravery to do the right thing. Sometimes it's that fear and discomfort of stepping up that lets you know you're doing the right thing.

One final note I want to make in this blog post is about the post title. This quote comes from the book Wonder as you can see below. I was so struck by this line when I first read it {as I was with many lines in that book—I would definitely recommend you read it}. But it's just such a simple yet important thing to remember: your deeds are your monuments. What you do is how you will be remembered. This is so vital. We need to spend our lives doing things that matter. It doesn't matter who these things matter to, but they need to matter. You need to live your life doing things that matter to you. Remember that, and strive for that.

If you had a platform like Starbucks, what would you promote? What will your monuments be?

Lots of love,

RJ Palacio, "Wonder" (Inscription on an Egyptian tomb)