Help Yourself!

Chad - Scottsboro, Alabama
Entered on November 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Recently in one of my college courses, I had a classmate ask for help with some assignments. Usually I have no problem helping anyone with a problem, but this individual never shows up for class, and when he does show up he is more worried about playing on his cell phone. Needless to say I refused to help him. The saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” sums up the entire situation. I have had to learn this lesson the hard way. When I was a young lad, I had a few encounters with the police. Some of my buddies and I got into trouble for criminal trespassing; I had to go to court; for my crime I received 6 months probation. There are many people who do not fully conceive the concept of probation; it is a time for reflection, and in a sense I was receiving help from our judicial system. I say that because they could have just as easily thrown me to the wolves, but the judge saw something in me; I was grateful, but like many of my peers my thoughts were simply, “whew.”

Shortly after the previous encounter with the law, my 16th birthday approached. My parents went out of town for few days. I took that as an invitation to throw myself a little birthday party. I invited all of my friends over, their friends, and their friends’ friends. Half way into the party, my aunt knocked on the front door; being drunk, I regrettably said things to her that I can never take back; in turn, she called the police. As I was about to be taken to jail, my brother Matthew pulled up, so the police officer allowed him to take me to his house instead of jail. I say again, I was grateful, but not for his help so much as it was for the fact I wasn’t going to jail.

It was a few years later that I realized if I didn’t stop surrounding myself with the wrong crowd I would be in for one hell of a ride–a ride that I was not ready to take, so I moved away to make myself better. I could no longer rely on my family for financial or emotional support in any way. I forced myself to grow up, and take responsibility for my actions. My father used to say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Oh how he was right. Looking back I am ashamed of what I have done to myself, and more importantly, my family. Everyone tried to help me because they saw what I could not, but I was not willing. It was my way or no way; I often think back to all the clues they gave, and the pieces fall in place like a puzzle. I have to help myself to appreciate others’ help.