… And This I Believe

Jaclyn - Brooklyn, New York
Entered on March 2, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

As I sit at my computer, thinking about what I believe in, one of the major things that comes to mind is how hard it is to have hope when negative influences are so prevalent. However, one of the things which many tend to forget is still to believe. I believe that hope, courtesy and respectfulness are all traits that have become undervalued.

Today, something as simple as helping others, giving charity or simply lending a hand have all become forgotten or left out. Recently, while assisting one of my professors, a student came into the professor’s office and asked, “How many hours of community service do we need for the National Honor Society?” The teacher replied, “30 over the course of four months,” and the student’s mouth opened wide in astonishment. Thirty hours over the course of four months, is less than two hours a week! Community service has become more and more viewed and related to doing a chore, which is not how things should be. Today, instead of looking to help others, many of us are just looking for our own benefits, such as free food, clothing, or even being admitted to the National Honor Society. But this is no reason for doing charity work.

Courtesy is something very few people possess in today’s society. While commuting to school, a pregnant lady stood in the aisle of a bus searching for a seat to sit, while a young teenager sat comfortably listening to his Ipod. When the lady asked politely if she could sit, the teenager responded with an attitude saying, “You just got on this bus, don’t tell me to get out of my seat!” This was astonishing to me, as I could not believe that this young individual did not feel guilty in refusing to give up his seat to someone who was not as capable of standing as he was.

Although I may not be a strong believer in the idea of karma, I do believe that certain aspects of common courtesy have been lost. People do not look forward to charity work and lending a hand, nor do they respect others. We need to realize that by helping others, we will be helping ourselves in the end, and this day, I believe, will come.