“Cough! Cough! I have a fever! I do not want to go to school,” I nagged. My parents reluctantly agreed that I could skip school. I was as happy as the dry flowers when the rain poured on their dehydrated body. Every year I have an urge to repeat this sneaky act, but not this year. I realized that there is no advantage; it is just detrimental to me. I just lost a privileged day of learning.
Each day I go through many challenges and encounter many opportunities, but I always face one question: Why am I doing this? Hundreds of decisions are made. Most of them are made by our parents or pressured by our friends. Our reason for what we decide is not necessarily what we believe is correct, but truly how well someone persuaded us. We should make decisions because we want to improve ourselves as a better human being.
At home or school, I witness many actions. When teachers request students to complete homework, some students think it is acceptable to have it incomplete. This act does not affect the teacher; it only hurts the student. Their actions should be instigated by their desire for development, not by the teachers’ instruction. At home, my parents tell me to do my chores, but this is not a demand. It is a choice for me to consider. I always try to do the chores because it only educates me about life skills. Organization, responsibility, and obedience are taught; there are no drawbacks.
One should be a “good” person anywhere, anytime. One day at swimming practice, we were using weights for a dry land workout. Afterwards, we were supposed to put them away in the crimson bucket located in the coaches’ office. Many of the swimmers decided to leave them in the locker rooms instead, due to their laziness. On the other hand, I put mine in the right place. I did this not because the coach advised me to, but I did it because I knew that was the right thing to do.
When we returned to the locker room to change, I observed that there were still several weights. I put a few into the coaches’ office and alerted him that there were still some left. I felt good afterwards and not guilty because I knew that my act was helpful. If I possess the power to do the righteous act, but fail to act properly, then I feel like a criminal. Life is not about completing what somebody tells you to do; life is about completing what will help you.
I realize that everyday brings new opportunities and it gives you chances to improve yourself. Many people do not make their own decisions, but follow or do something because of pressure. They do not believe that life’s opportunities are for their own good. I hope that someday, when people are mature, they will understand that life isn’t about doing what people tell them to do; it is about doing something for the benefit of themselves and many other people who are affected by their action. So next time you want to skip school, think again.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.