This I Believe

Gabriel - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 15, 2006

People Form Their Own Destinies

I believed that all the poor in the America could not bring themselves forward in the world for good reasons. I believed that they must have not had a decent education or had little or no talents that could get them anywhere in life. After working with a non-profit diner, I can see that I was totally wrong.

In the eighth grade, I received the opportunity to join my parish in serving at The Lord’s Diner, a diner that is run fully on donations. I accepted the opportunity only because I had friends that were going to do it and I would be able to see them more often. I did not realize the impact that it would have on me at the time.

My parish was given the first Sunday of every month to prepare food for the diner, and to serve it to the people for free. This was to help the people in Wichita that could not receive a healthy diet because of a lack of money. This group was made up mostly of the homeless. I was shocked when I first worked at the Diner. The people who went to be served looked like they had lost everything. How can they live like they do? I continued to serve at the Diner, but never truly had my question answered.

One Sunday, I decided that I would gather my courage and confront a person or two about their lives. It was very difficult to go to a total stranger who looked like they had been in fights every day and talk to them about how their life got to where it is now. I specifically remember one middle-aged man who looked particularly gloomy. My mother and I went to him and we struck up a conversation. Somehow or another, we managed to talk about how his life had gotten to where it was now. He told us that he was a particularly good pianist and had actually composed songs, but had never attempted to get anywhere with his skill. He played for us and he was extremely talented. I realized at that point why the homeless lived like they do.

Now I know that the poor definitely have talents and skills. The middle-aged man proved that to me. But what they are lacking is the desire to succeed. Why would they want to-they could keep their skills, and get free meals every day from the Lord’s Diner? And with welfare they can get enough money to sustain them for their whole life. I believe that people form their own destinies. The poor in America that have talents lack the will to make a successful future. I believe that the poor with talents have almost the same opportunities as those in the middle or upper class with the same talents. The poor would not be poor if they utilized their talents to get a profit, and then an education, and then to make an impact on the world.

To further my belief, I would like to say that everyone, regardless of class, ethnicity, and gender, should strive to create for him or herself a successful and prosperous future.