This I Believe

Aaron - Dagsboro, Delaware
Entered on November 18, 2007

Individual Independence

Independence is such a vital part of our fragile society. It allows us to be ourselves and to show our true colors. Sadly, many unfortunate children of our community are deprived of who they are and, instead, are forced to conform to what their peers are doing in hopes to ‘fit in’. I see it everyday as I go to school. Children make fun of other children just because they don’t wear name brand clothing or just straight up ‘aren’t cool’. But what is cool? Is it following others who seem cool; mimicking other’s lifestyles in hopes that you will one day become a part of the ‘in crowd’? I had always thought school was supposed to be a fun place, a place made to enrich children’s minds, a place where life long friends are made and where kids matured into responsible young adults. However, many children in today’s society are cut short and, instead, dread the moment they enter through those school doors for they know the dreadful day which lies ahead them. Which leads me to a story of a great friend of mine, one who isn’t really a part of the ‘in crowd’, a guy who is quite intelligent, and a great friend who will, unfortunately, never really be known among his peers for he is not considered ‘cool’.

Cameron has had quite a brutal life. He would come to school each day only to get picked on and made fun of. He was accused of wearing ‘Wal-Mart’ brand clothing. So, naturally, to the alleged ‘cool’ kids, it was as if he was walking around with a giant bulls-eye on his back. Poor Cameron’s favorite part of every school day is that beautiful ring the bell makes signifying his long awaited dismissal of such a cruel world. Many say “it’s just the way of life, the nerds, losers, and geeks get picked on.” But I’m just having a tough time seeing the fairness in all this. What makes others take position as the ‘cool’ supreme ruler? What gives them the right to say who is and who is not cool? Why does everyone have to be so stereotypical as to judge people by what they look like and what they wear? I mean we live in a society based around individuality so why aren’t children allowed to wear what they please without being criticized for it? It’s as if most children in school are robots, programmed to act and look a certain way. I mean where did the individuality go? The one thing that sets everyone apart from each other? What happened to those lessons of life that we were taught as young children, about how you judge someone by who they are on the inside, not what they look like on the outside? It seems as if this entire generation has lost all respect for others, or at least to those who aren’t in ones ‘social class’.

In conclusion I must state that it is not fair. We live in a world where people are so stereotyped that it is considered a sin to socialize with those who aren’t seen as ‘cool’. I am writing this speech to all the kids out there who can relate to what I am saying and to any parents who try with all your will power to help your child ‘fit in’. To anyone out there who believes what I am saying, I cry out to you in need. I ask if you can just lend a helping hand to any of those innocent children. If you could just give them a friend, or someone to talk to, it will be one step closer towards regaining the individuality which has been stripped from them. For I believe in independence among those who have been so wrongly deprived from it.