Being nice, a key to the future

Charlie - lexington, Kentucky
Entered on December 11, 2008

What is a belief? Everyone’s definition is different. I think it represents your feelings and attitude about a particular thing at any given time. No one has the same beliefs. They are all as unique as we are. Some beliefs may change as a result of life experiences. I believe that we as Americans need to be more helpful and kind to each other. This can be as simple as holding a door for someone or saying “Hi.” Yeah, sometimes it is hard but it needs to be done.

During my 8th grade year of school, I was required to do community service. I didn’t want to do it, I was dreading it. One day I found an opportunity to help at my church’s spaghetti dinner night. I thought it was going to be boring. Oh, how I was wrong.

It was a warm and sunny fall day. It would have been a great day to play golf but I remembered that I needed to help at the spaghetti dinner. The dinner was being held in the cafeteria of the school I attended at that time. When I got to the cafeteria, I was greeted by a couple of cheerful people that appeared to be organizing the event. They told me they needed me to set up tables and chairs in the gym so that they could concentrate on preparing the food. It was easy enough to pull out the tables but the chairs were in a corner on a rolling rack that was blocked by three other carts loaded with tables. That was a head scratching moment. About 20 minutes later I had maneuvered everything around so that I could get the chairs and tables out and set up.

After getting the cafeteria and the gym set up, I had to wait until the dinner was officially opened to let people come in. All sorts of people came in to support this church fund raiser. The dinner was arranged to raise money to build a new school. When people came in they waited in line to buy their dinner and then sat down to eat with family and friends. The dinner wasn’t elaborate but people attended to help make money for a much needed new school.

Meeting the people and talking to them was my favorite part. People of all ages came, from old to young. Most of the people were very friendly. Some of the older people were especially entertaining with stories from years ago. They seemed to enjoy my company as well. The other volunteers were especially nice to talk to, they came to help the school and did so without complaining of giving up their free time to volunteer. I also remember the priests who came to mingle and also to support the people who volunteered to make the dinner a success. I really enjoyed helping the school and the church with their great cause. I was able to meet a lot of people that I would not have met otherwise.

This is just one example of how people can help their communities but there are many more ways to help out fellow Americans. Although I was required to volunteer, I enjoyed the experience. I returned to help at the dinners for several years and to help out with other fund raisers similar to the spaghetti dinners. Rising money for a school is a great way to help out.

This holiday season I am helping with a charirty at the office where I work. It is called Christmas on the Reservation. This charity was set up by chiropractors across the country to gather gifts to send to an Indian reservation in Montana. Our office decided to collect games for the entire community to enjoy. I feel like we as an office have done a good thing to help those who otherwise would not have as much at Christmas. This is another great way to help and to get involved. There are many other opportunities like this to help your community.

Helping fellow Americans does not have to be something that requires multiple hours during a day. I believe that it can be any amount of time even if it is only the five seconds it takes to say “hi” to someone. Anyone can be helpful during a day, opening the door is not too hard but it can be a real help to someone who may need assistance.

Our daily routines can be altered to include helping someone else out. Yes, our days are crazy and we don’t have much free time, but consider how much time most of us spend in a car each day. Is it that hard to let someone into your lane when they are trying to change lanes? Is it hard to slow down when you see people working on the side of the road. It might not seem like it is helping anyone to slow down but it is. It protects them from speed related accidents and it is a sign of respect. Do the right thing and slow down. Life is not a race, it is a journey.

As some people say “What goes around comes around.” I believe we as Americans need to help each other more often. Americans need to set an example for other countries as being generous and caring. We are a world superpower and we need to show the better side of our country to the rest of the world. As Americans, we need to lead from the front not from the back. I believe that as a country we can do this but it will take some work. Is being kind or holding a door that hard? No, but it shows the rest of the world that WE as Americans care about other people, not just ourselves. I believe we as Americans need to be more helpful and kind to each other.