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February 9, 2013

Teenhood Today: Follow through on good intentions

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The Daily Star

---- — Most of the time, people have good intentions.

I have yet to meet someone who has evil running through his blood and is always looking to ruin someone’s day, or week, or celebration of the 99999999th time she turned on the kitchen light. Most of the time a rude comment is the farthest we go down the path of turning someone’s mood sour. Like most people, my intentions are usually good. Unfortunately, things don’t often turn out exactly as I expected or planned them to.

For example, when I was younger, I had a friend who loved peach rings. I knew this, and so when I got a bag of the delicious things, I decided that I would perform a random act of kindness and save her a few. I set apart the perfect amount to make her smile and began to eat the rest.

Obviously, the problem came when my allotted amount had all migrated to my stomach. How could I not want more? I decided that since I hadn’t told her that I was giving her some, she wouldn’t be upset if I ate a few. Just a few! She would still get some, and her day would still be made. I ate a couple. Then I ate one or two more. Then a few jumped into my mouth and practically begged me to eat them. Soon all that was left was one lonely peach ring.

My stomach and eyes insisted that I still wanted more so decided that her day would still be a glorious one with just half of a peach ring. I split it in half and ate one of the parts. The other half, still waiting to be presented to my friend, looked so lonely that I couldn’t help but split that one in half too. And, of course, I had to eat one of the halves. Surely she would still be overjoyed with a quarter of a peach ring!

I decided an eighth of a peach ring was just as good as a quarter and you can probably guess what happened to that poor quarter of a peach ring. 

Did you guess “It took a trip to the moon with an elephant and lived happily ever after singing Christmas carols to the end of its days”? Because I’m sorry to inform you that you are wrong. In fact, that quarter of a peach ring was divided again and half of it consumed by me. 

This process continued until the peach ring too small to see without an electron-scanning microscope. But I was determined to save this for her. It would still make her day, and she would gush praise and thanks for this lovely (even if it was minuscule) confectionary delight. Then I thought about how I would feel if I was given an extremely small piece of candy. What would she think when I gave it to her? So I ate that little piece of peach ring.

See? Completely good intentions to deliver a random act of kindness, just different results. I was excited to save some for her, but my stomach and extremely large sweet tooth had other plans.

Thankfully, in this case it wasn’t a big deal that my good intentions weren’t actually carried out. But sometimes, it is a big deal. I’ve been in a lot of situations where I find myself saying “I was planning on it…” or “I totally meant to, but…”. I’d be willing to bet that almost all of us (there are exceptions to every rule) are guilty of this.

But think about how much better life would be if everyone did random acts of kindness and actually made good on their good intentions. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Thankfully, I have my peach rings to remind me to do this. I know that now every time I see peach rings, I am reminded do something nice for someone, make good on a promise, and/or eat the entire bag of fruit-flavored goodness in one gulp.

Miriam A. Thurber is a rising sophomore at Unatego Central School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.