This I Believe

Clara - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on September 25, 2006

How many times a day do you perform a selfless act for another person that benefits you in no way? You and I both know that tally isn’t too high for most. But what if it were? Would we be happier? Would it make any difference at all? Yes; I strongly believe that in helping others, you help yourself in more ways than imaginable.

As a minister’s daughter, I am expected to do things I do not wish to do. For example, one time last year, our youth minister decided to have our youth group run “Room in the Inn”. In this program, a church takes one night a week all winter to feed and board homeless men. We were to make dinner, set up beds, serve dinner, and talk to the men. Our church’s host day is Friday, and we weren’t ecstatic about spending our night with homeless men. I grudgingly went to church that afternoon and began to set up beds with a few of my friends who weren’t excited to be there either. As we cooked dinner, our moods didn’t improve. It wasn’t until I saw the smiles on our guests’ faces that I realized the real point of our job. It wasn’t for us, it was for them. From that point on, my mood improved. I could tell the men appreciated our taking time out of our lives to help them. I was making a difference in these men’s lives.

After “Room in the Inn”, I was eager to try to live this newfound philosophy. I did simple tasks of kindness, but I wanted a real chance to live this way. An opportunity presented itself to me through an inner-city bible school the first week of summer with my church. My parents gave me the decision to participate, since it was the first week of summer. I chose to go. The children we helped really needed someone, and I wanted to be this someone. I helped out in the preschool class. We did lots of bible related activities and had fun doing them. On the last day, we took a field trip to the pool. The older kids were playing a game in the deep end; I planned on joining them. I looked back and saw one kid sitting by the side of the pool. I swam over asked what was wrong; he replied that he could only swim if someone helped him. As much as I wanted to play, I knew I should help him instead, so I did. When it was time to leave, he came to me and gave me a hug. I realized that he really cherished the time we spent together; it meant a lot to me that I’d helped him. I had chosen to follow my new way of life without realizing it. So I leave you with this: challenge yourself to try and live for others. You’ll never regret it, I haven’t.