This I Believe

Tayra - Miami, Florida
Entered on August 8, 2007

I believe I was meant to live a life of service to others. Looking back, I think it all started in elementary school. I was always eager to be a teacher’s pet, whether it required going to the board, getting water for the teacher or passing out papers. I also made sure my classmates understood the lesson by getting together later that afternoon and reviewing the lesson with them, as teacher this time.

Not only did I get satisfaction from helping out in the classroom, but I also had and continue to have a great need to be of service to the elderly. I lived in Cuba for the first ten years of my life and remember one of my neighbors, an elderly woman by the name of Olivia. While most kids were eager to play, once they got home from school, I couldn’t wait to go to Olivia’s house to play dominos with her. I always felt she was lonely and longed for the company of her children and grandchildren.

My need to be of service to others is as essential in my adult life as it was when I was a child. I’ve noticed that even when I don’t plan it, everytime I go to a doctor’s office, an elderly person asks me to fill out an application of some sort and at the supermarket I’m always approached by an elderly person who needs me to read and translate the ingredients of some item for them. I believe this need I have to serve others comes from my grandma who always did the same. She continues to be an inspiration in my life, although she is no longer physically alive.

I am also of service to my uncle. He is mentally ill and his condition worsened last year when it seemed he had given up on life at the age of fifty. Since then, I have to keep his medication at my house and only give him his daily dosage. I also take him to the doctor and care for him as if he was my son. Sometimes it is overwhelming and stressful when he is having a crisis and ends up in the hospital, but even during those difficult moments, I feel I am making a difference in someone’s life.

Since I realized my need to be of service to others early on, I became a teacher at the age of twenty -two years old. I have been a secondary school teacher for eleven years now. I feel teaching is one of the most fulfilling jobs and one that allows me to be of service to others, even when I’m not aware of it. For me, a life of service to others gives me a reason for living and satisfaction in giving.