I believe in the power of one- the ability of one person to change the life of another. When I was in grade school, I had a new best friend every year. In second grade it was Nicole, third grade it was Sarah, then Terra, then Allie. But when I got to sixth grade I met a girl named Maggie. Maggie was the first friend I ever had that made me feel special every time we were together. I knew I could be myself when I was around her; I didn’t have to act cool. To her, I was cool.
When Maggie introduced me to Jackie, another friend of hers, I became very jealous and refused to become friends with Jackie. I thought Jackie was weird because she seemed so shy. I figured that Maggie wanted Jackie as her new best friend, and that our friendship was over.
Maggie immediately saw my change in attitude and confronted me about it (something that is pretty difficult to do when you’re twelve). She told me that her being friends with Jackie did not make our friendship any weaker, and that we should all be friends.
So I decided to give Jackie a chance. Today, Jackie is one of my closest friends thanks to Maggie. Because of Maggie I learned not to judge, a quality that is clearly lacking in our society today. We start judging people from the moment we lay eyes on them. Then we use those judgments to form opinions of others before we even get to know them. This is truly a shame because there are so many interesting people in our world, so many stories that we don’t know. And we are kept from those stories because of our judgments. If we learn to stop judging people based on appearance, and really get to know them, we will find that all people have something unique to share.
Maggie also taught me to be open minded. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own world that we fail to see things from any other point of view. We need to be open to the fact that we might, heaven forbid, be wrong; open to the fact that someone else might have a better way to get the job done. And most importantly, we need to be open to new people. There are so many great people in our world, all we need to give them a chance.
Because of Maggie, I am a better person. I am more patient, understanding, and accepting of others. I believe that she has changed my life for the better. I believe in the power of one.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.