This I Believe

Brittany - Fort Worth, Texas
Entered on December 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

American culture is like a race car, going fast from one stop to the next just to get to the finish. If we could only go back to the days when it was like a family road trip, stopping along the way to see the sights, knowing the middle is just as great as the end. Today Americans seem to be moving a million miles an hour, in a fast pace life, people don’t take the time to stop and appreciate everything they have. I believe we should be more grateful for the things we have and give thanks for it. The houses we live in and the love of family members are common things as Americans we see as necessities yet in other countries one is lucky to have them. We should no longer take for granted everything we have, whether earned from hard work or given to us, we should appreciate what we have and help others who are less fortunate.

Through traveling and discovering different cultures I have found that our culture is lacking appreciation and contentment that others value. After studying abroad in Spain, the most dominant memory I have from Spanish culture is that they value the time they have. The Spanish family I lived with valued the time they had together as well as each other, they appreciated everything they had and were content with life because of that. When my friends and I would go to a café or restaurant, the service was very slow not because it was bad service but because they took their time to make the food, unlike America’s fast food nation. It gave us time to talk and sit around, something that seems to happen less and less in our crazy non stop American lives. I think as Americans we don’t take the time to appreciate everything, we should be more grateful for our lives that are filled with riches many do not have.

When I was in high school every spring break my church would go down to Tijuana, Mexico to build houses for families. We built a very small house for a family of five, but to see their faces when the house was done was incredible. They were so thankful just to have a roof over their heads and a front door to their house. Because they knew no better they appreciated the little we gave them, and appreciated everything they had and because of that they appeared to be the happiest people I had ever met.

I have seen through other cultures that living one’s life with appreciation causes him or her to be more content with who they are and what they have, resulting in a fuller life. So if I could give you one tip of advice from my life experiences I would tell you to appreciate the time you spend with your loved ones, be grateful for the things you have and give thanks to the things you are given.