This I Believe

Erica - Lake Villa, Illinois
Entered on May 2, 2007

It’s Not What You Say

Presidents throughout time, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and other individuals who spoke about their beliefs spoke more than just words. Their words gave them direction and a binding agreement to carry out what they said they were going to do. A person’s words are only as good as the actions that follow. However, sometimes nothing needs to be said at all. A person’s actions speak louder than any words could. The actions are what matter most because that’s what people remember and, most importantly, depend on.

People throughout my life have promised me so many things, and I enjoy the expectation of them keeping it. I enjoy the feeling of knowing that I can count on them to come through for me. However, what if they fail? Their words never spoke any truth. Their words seemed to be a silencer to quiet me in an uneasy time. I count on my boss’s promise to let me have a certain day off, my parents to always be there for me, and my friends to never let me down in a time of need. However, whenever I feel let down, it’s because of an action or a failure to act. It’s as if I saw a cloud and instinctively thought it was going to rain, and nothing came. Their actions let me down, and their words were slander. However, I know that when a promise has been kept, it’s because this person is true and honest. This person is dependable and trustworthy. People’s actions allow others to see inside of a person. An action can show a person’s personality, hopes, desires, dreams, accountability, and, most importantly, their true self.

I’m a quiet person by nature, and I was a loner when I was younger. I never liked to say much or talk publicly; I kept to myself. However, I allowed others to see what I was thinking by what I did. When I didn’t get that candy bar at the grocery store, I never screamed or cried. I would give my mom the silent treatment, and she could see my anger. Whenever I was angry with my sister, I would take her Barbie and hide it somewhere. The ones closest to me never need me to say much because I usually speak through what I am doing.

My Gran-E was a woman of strength and courage. She never spoke much, and sometimes I would wonder if she was even listening to what I was saying. However, she gave. She gave love, hope, and guidance without a word being said. She gave with her heart, and her actions spoke what she couldn’t or wouldn’t say. She found it difficult to say, “I love you.” However, her generosity and kindness assured me that I was deeply loved. She never said she was proud of me, but her smile showed that she couldn’t be happier. She loved with her arms wide open, and I never missed the chance to greet her with a kiss on the cheek. I was special to her because I showed her that I cared, and she didn’t need anything else to be said. My word wasn’t my bond; my actions were.

The story of a person’s life usually doesn’t entail the words they spoke, but their actions should always be included because a person’s actions speak for themselves. Adolph Hitler wasn’t a bad person because of what he said; it was because of what he did to others. Mother Teresa wasn’t a good person because she spoke about helping others. She went out and set forth on a mission to give of herself. Like Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.”