This I Believe

Shantal - Rye, Colorado
Entered on April 28, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

“There’s so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us, that it ill becomes any of us to find fault with the rest of us”-unknown. Throughout the journey of my life I have learned and have come to believe in being non-judgmental and being conscious of showing compassion toward others. I believe that the world would be a much better, more pleasant place for us to live, if we could all learn to show compassion to each other, and not judge each other based on outward appearances, or by first impressions.

We are all guilty of it, judging others; even I myself have been guilty of committing this morally wrong crime. It used to be in my belief that ALL cheerleaders, and “preps”, were all the same shallow, weak-minded, type of people. That was until I was forced to work in a group with a girl named Rachel Simmons. Rachel, captain of the cheerleading squad, and I, loather of all cheerleaders, were assigned to work together in Theatre class. During the next few weeks, as we spent time together each day working on writing a one act play, I came to know Rachel for who she was. Yes, she was a cheerleader, but she was also a person, an actual human being, like me! It gave me an understanding of the fact that although a persons interests may be different than yours, and their style, or way of life, may not see eye to eye with yours, they still experience all of the same emotions that you do, and they too are doing their best to strive in this thing that we call life.

There was once a time when, because of my judgmental ways, I was uncompassionate towards those people who were not like me. Mostly because of the fact that I never gave a second thought to try and understand them, or why they chose to live they way they did. After meeting Rachel Simmons and seeing how although she too had been through many of the same things I had, and had experienced a lot of the same emotions, I realized that just because she looked different, or acted different, didn’t mean that she was any less of a person than I was. It was then that I decided to live my life, from there on out, with a non-judgmental outlook, and with a consciousness of being compassionate towards my fellow people.

Since my decision, I have seen the beneficial effects of compassion, and how by making one simple kind gesture, you can brighten a person’s day, and possibly even save a life. I recently read an article in a weekly newsletter that perfectly demonstrates how far the effects of compassion can reach. The story was about a boy who was popular, on the football team and all that and he was on his way home from school one day, a Friday, and saw another boy walking carrying all of his books. The popular boy thought it was kind of strange seeing that kid carry all of his books home, but at first he didn’t say anything. Soon enough a couple of other kids came along and began picking on the kid with his armload of books, they threw his books all over the road and called him many names, like Freak, and nerd. The popular kid felt bad and went over to help the boy, he picked up his books and helped carry them home with the boy. The “freak” was quiet and shy, and the football player thought he was odd, but he invited him to play football with him and his friends the next day. He did, and over the next few years, the two boys became best friends. On Graduation day, the “nerdy” kid was chosen to make a speech, and when he did, he explained how the popular kid, by showing that little compassion, had saved his life. He was planning on killing himself over that weekend, which is why he had all of books with him, so that his mom wouldn’t have to go and clean out his locker for him, but because the football player had shown him that compassion and had not judged him and had befriended him, he had changed his mind.

That young man could’ve easily looked at the boy with the books and said, “What a nerd, carrying home all his books, he’s so weird..” but instead he reached out to the boy, and made a gigantic impact on him, enough so that he is the reason that this man is still alive today. Judgment and compassion go hand in hand, you must let go of judgmental thoughts and ways, and take on an attitude of compassion, I did, and it has made my life all the better. So the next time you find yourself judging a book by it’s cover, dare to take a deeper look, and share that compassion, you never know….you might just save a life!