This I Believe

Thomas - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 8, 2006

Chivalry Isn’t Dead, Edmund Burke!

In today’s cutthroat world of deception, debauchery, and public education, it’s not an easy thing to stick by a set of beliefs. As a sixteen year old in one of the most completive areas in the United States, it seems as if human happiness is measured only by tangible success according to guidance counselors nationwide. And under the enormous stress of standardized tests and college mail, between the ruthless backstabbing and grade-mongering, what do I stand for? What is it that I believe in? In these difficult times, I stand by chivalry as my most closely held conviction. It is my personal belief that gracious conduct towards others in everyday life is of the utmost importance, and nothing exemplifies this better than holding the door open.

In my opinion, there is nothing as courteous as holding the door open for another person. I’ve grown up in an environment where respect and decency towards the fellow man has always been encouraged. To me, the simple act of holding a door open is more than just applied force on a hinge. It conveys the idea that to be chivalrous is not “dead” as Edmund Burke declared, and that there is always hope for the individual in a society which idealizes material wealth at any cost. It’s a small favor with a greater meaning, and the ability to shape civilizations.

To hold a door is a timeless act of human decency. Any skeptic would tell you that such an undertaking is trivial, but I tend to think otherwise. Performing only the most negligible of tasks, one has the power to make any average person’s day just a little bit better. Helping that one person, taking the few seconds out of your busy schedule to make things a little bit easier for someone else that might not even know truly epitomizes decency. To me, that “little bit” represents all that is good in the world. It’s the small things that people do for one another that truly make life worth living. I believe that anything that one person can do for another, any little thing to make a day that much better is truly the pinnacle of human morality. Even if they don’t say thank you.