Asking Someone to Play

Lindsay - Cary, North Carolina
Entered on September 23, 2008

I believe that the most important trait in a person is their strength of character. To me strength in character doesn’t necessarily mean success in your career, academics or wealth, but it’s how you portray your values and beliefs to other people. The story behind how I learned this lesson takes me all the way back to third grade. It was the parent-teacher conference time of the year, and I remember the day that my mother went to meet my teacher. I wasn’t worried when she came home because I knew that I was a good student and had good grades so I expected her to be proud. But when she came home she was more than proud when she told me what my teacher had shared with her.

There was a girl in my class who was a little different from everyone else; you know, the one kid who everyone picks on in elementary school because they are a “loser” or not cool enough. Well, that was her. She sat by herself at lunch and had her own seat in the classroom away from everyone else. She played by herself at recess and rarely talked to other kids. I remember watching her each day and wondering why no one included her and what made her so different from everyone else, until one day when I realized that she wasn’t so different from everyone else. When this thought hit me, I went up to her at recess and asked her if she wanted to play with me. I will never forget the look on her face when I asked her this question; she had the biggest smile I had ever seen and her eyes lit up behind her thick glasses that she wore everyday. After that day, she sat with us at lunch and played with my friends and me all of the time; she acted like a completely different person. I never knew how one simple question could change someone’s life, but it can. When my mother came home and told me what the teacher had said, I think it was one of the proudest moments in her life. She told me that she hopes I will always have that special trait.

I believe that the strength in my character led me to want to be friends with this girl who no one even thought about or cared to talk to. My parents have always taught me to include everyone and not leave anyone out for any reason, and I think that helped shape my character also. I believe that knowing you helped another person, with something little or big, is one of the biggest rewards in life. Strength in character is not something you can think or learn, but something you have to live.