Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

The Little Things

The Little Things

Isabel McKeough

Year 8, MLC School, Burwood

What Matters?

Is it the increased temperature stratification?

The hole in the ozone layer?

The whirlpool of garbage in our sea?

The groups of trees half the size of England being logged every year?

The homeless person lying on that bench?

The beef mass production site?

The bleaching of Australia's iconic underwater wonder?

The millions of refugees denied entry to Australia every year?

The constant bias towards people of colour?

The people in India who can't see the stars at night?

Or is it the person walking past you with their nose mere inches from their phones?

What is it that truly matters?

Finding a solution matters.

But with the world facing constant threat, both global and micro, it is hard to find a place to start. It is similar to having a pile of homework that needs completing. Do I do my history timeline of Medieval Japan to get it over with or should I continue annotating The Complete Works of William Shakespeare?

With so many issues, which one do I think of a solution for first?

Which one matters the most?

That's the thing- they all matter.

And thinking of a solution to finish this huge pile of work in only 30 minutes is impossible. Think about it. If you need 70 cookies, with each costing $1 and only have $10 you can't buy them all. The maths just doesn't work. So how do we make it work?

What truly matters?

What matters is that glimpse of eye-contact when you see someone.

                             That compliment that often goes unsaid.

                                                        That smile you share with a stranger on the way to the bus stop that might just

                                                        brighten their day.

It's the small acts that matter and will equate to a better world.

That small greeting that picks someone's head out of the digital world and lets them experience and embrace human nature.

That acknowledgement of someone that makes them feel that they truly belong.

That contact that lights a spark in what was otherwise a black void and that exemplifies that hope is still there.

That simple deed of communication that improves social skills and will let people communicate and cooperate to solve major world issues.

It all starts with simple human courtesy. That deemed insignificant gesture that has the capability to change the world. So next time you leave the house, think about how you interact with the people around you...

Because it's that glimpse of eye-contact when you see someone.

                            That compliment that often goes unsaid.

                                                        That smile you share with a stranger on the way to the bus stop that might just

                                                        brighten their day that can change the world.

Stop and focus on those human exchanges that happen every minute of every day, because it's the little things, that really matter.