This I Believe

Bhuvaneswari - Sleepy Hollow, New York
Entered on June 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

A Treasure-hunter’s dream

I believe that people always deserve a second chance, that there is always a gold mine of wisdom or inner good waiting to be discovered. Everyone has a story to tell that is worth hearing.

A few weeks ago, I, a student from one of the wealthiest schools in the nation, was in the city helping distribute supplies to the homeless. We handed out coffee and sweatpants, and in return, were allowed a glimpse into their lives. They were extremely grateful for our visit, which was sad because it was such a small thing for us to do. They taught me that even the smallest gestures can mean a lot. Most were working at least one job, but this wasn’t enough for them to sustain themselves. One man told us about how he had once been a linguistics professor in California; he taught me that my life could change drastically at any moment, and that I shouldn’t take it for granted. Another man told us about how he was going back to school at 52 to try to get his life back on track. He taught me that there is always a way if I am willing to work hard enough.

Some people would dismiss the homeless as lazy and deserving of their plight. However, they all had reasons for their state, and many times, their poverty was not even their fault. They had remarkable stories to tell, if they were only given the chance.

I find that I usually end up revoking any judgment passed too quickly, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that I was right all along. Each day is a constant reminder that first impressions are often wrong, and that even second or third or fourth impressions are not enough to reveal the inner layers of a person.

I know that I’d always appreciate a chance to reveal another facet of myself, and I believe that others deserve that opportunity as well.

Opening up to the possibility that there is something more to someone usually yields amazing results. I believe in giving people a fair chance, in always striving to learn more about them.