Having an Open Mind

stephen - shirley, Massachusetts
Entered on May 27, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: tolerance

I believe in having an open mind. I have found that I can learn more from listening to other people’s ideas than any history book could ever teach me.

This year I took a two week trip to an island of the shores of Belize. Here I spent time listening to the locals about their way of life. The people on this island dedicated their lives to the sea and the land they live on. All of their needs of water, food, and entertainment were met by their environment. Although the way these people live is completely different from the way I live, their values made an impact on my life. From their “pure” lifestyle I recognized my own faults in daily life. Polluting, excessive driving, and a lack of respect for the environment were problems I had not previously acknowledged.

Everyone I know has had some type of influence on me no matter how insignificant. For school I volunteered with under privileged children in an after school program to keep them out of trouble that city life presents. Many of these children have fathers that left their families and other problems within the family. Coming from a small town in the middle of no where I had not seen many situations like this. Man of the children had to be in this program because of the vigorous amount of working the mother had to do support a family without a father. For most of my life I had taken my own family for granted. This experience showed me the importance of a solid family structure and the value of parental figures.

Learning from other people makes me realize the things that I have and the person I want to be. In Belize I learned from a positive quality and in the after school program I learned from a negative quality. With an open mind things can be learned from any experience, whether it is good or bad.