This I Believe

Allison - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Be the Example

I cannot count the number of times I have heard, “Set an example. The younger ones are watching you whether you realize it or not”. I used to roll my eyes at this because I didn’t really believe that younger people were actually watching my every move. In middle school as an eighth grader I was given a speech about setting an example for the sixth and seventh graders. Then, as a senior in high school I was told to be an example for the freshman. I have come to find that no matter how old I get, I am always an example to someone, and it’s up to me to decide whether it will be good or bad.

This summer I truly discovered what it means to be a good example. My youth group and I went to Disney World on a mission trip back in June. The whole purpose was to share our faith with people in the parks. Being the oldest, they were all looking up to me. Talk about pressure. However, I knew I had to be bold. So, I was the first to share my faith with someone. I think they all saw how easy it was once I tried it. While I was an example in that way, there was another test that came my way. The day we arrived in Disney World, we went to Downtown Disney to look at souvenirs. The younger girls and I walked in one store, and there was a display of snow globes. I picked one up and the glass ball fell off and smashed on the ground making a mess of water and glitter. We all walked away from it, but the further I walked the more it bothered me. I thought to myself, “If I walk away from this, these younger girls are going to think that it’s okay to run away when a mistake is made”. So, I found someone and offered to pay for it. The lady told me that it happened all the time, and she didn’t make me pay for it, but the important thing is I set the example.

This may sound like something that is not a big deal, but what would those girls have thought if I had walked away? It wasn’t just about breaking a little snow globe; it was about doing the right thing. They saw that I was not going to just walk away like nothing happened, and I know it stuck because they brought it up again on the way back home. Being an example can happen in other ways too. Maybe I could choose not to make fun of someone just because everyone else is. Or I could help someone in need even if it isn’t that convenient for me. Younger people are looking up to me whether I realize it or not. So, I have to ask myself, “What kind of example am I setting today?”