This I Believe

Jordan - Volga, Iowa
Entered on December 3, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Driving to be Thankful

I believe in using the talents you’ve been given and being thankful for them. Everyone has something to contribute to our world. Not everyone shares the same traits, but we can still inspire our communities in different ways. Some of us are performers, some are teachers, and others are supporters. These aptitudes give us a cause to promote in our lives. They enable us to succeed, and for that I am grateful.

The summer before my senior year in high school I attended Boys’ State. It is a week long camp dedicated to associating young men with the democratic process of our country. At the camp I lived in a barracks that held about 20 students and one advisor. On the first day of camp I sat down for our first meeting. After a few minutes we heard the door open, and a late arrival walked in. It didn’t take long to notice that this new addition to our group had a physical handicap. His legs and hands were shaky and he had a difficult time carrying his bags.

As we went around the group introducing ourselves I became curious what his story was. When it was his turn he told us he had cerebral palsy, and answered our questions about his limitations without a second thought. I remember the moment of shock when he told us he arrived late because of the traffic. We weren’t struck by the fact that there was traffic, but rather that he was driving. Our new friend had troubles holding onto his lunch tray, yet he still managed to drive for hours to join us at Boys’ State.

I spent the week thinking about how lucky he is to be driving with his limitations. When I returned home I realized that he wasn’t the only one who is lucky to be driving, but I am lucky to be driving. Some kids don’t get the chance to play sports, let alone have the ability to walk. Other people can’t make their own decisions, hear, or even speak.

Situations may not appear this black and white to us everyday. There isn’t always someone there to remind us how lucky we are to have our talents. Nor do these abilities have to be physical. People can be grateful for the capability of communicating, caring, understanding, and loving.

Exercising our talents to their full potential benefits each of us and the world we live in. It’s alright to play a game, read a book, or drive a car and think little about the reason we are able to perform these tasks, but at the end of the day I believe in being thankful for the ability.