This I Believe

Elizabeth - Broomfield, Colorado
Entered on December 30, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change

“Oh, isn’t that just awful?”, “I hope someone will do something.”, and the classic, “That is so sad” are all things people say when they see a problem in the world. They’ll notice it; they’ll feel bad for a second and then move on with their lives thinking that someone else will take care of it. To them I say, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I believe that I need to be the change I want to see in the world. It’s a big challenge when you really think about it, but it’s become something I try to live by. I say try because not only did it take me a while to discover the meaning of my belief, but it also took me a lot of time to understand and work towards living it.

It all started with complaining. I was an avid complainer and I did utter the phrases I just opened with. Occasionally I would hear about the big issues, the big problems that needed to be solved, but in my mind they didn’t matter. They would never affect me, there was nothing I could do about it, and I had my own life to worry about. Besides, the problems are so big and the world has so many people in it, I figured someone would take care of it. I could not have been more wrong.

When I finally got over myself I looked around, there was so much I wanted to change. I saw the kid in the corner with no friends; I wanted someone to play with him. I saw the guy on the street holding up his sign; I wanted someone to stop and give him their spare coins. But what I soon realized was that everyone wanted someone else to do it too. I was in a mess with all the other people who were too lazy to take initiative to be that someone, we just kept waiting for problems to take care of themselves.

Of course problems never take care of themselves. Once I realized that, I understood that I had to be that someone. I had to do it myself. To look at that kid in the corner and not play with him myself would be neglecting not only him but also my responsibility to make a difference. To not give my spare coins to that man on the street would be just like my old complaining, pointless. Sure, it’s easy to notice things that should be changed; it’s easy to complain about them too. But that won’t make anything different. I wanted change, and I had to do it myself. So, I played with that kid in the corner; I rolled down my back seat window and gave up the few quarters I had. What did I find? I found that by being the change I wanted, I was doing something more worth while than anything I had ever done.

Now I’m older and I can do way more than just play with that loner or give up my quarters. I now have the opportunities to use my time and talents to work towards the betterment of man kind. I’ve now seen the face of hunger, the destruction wasteful lifestyles create, and the negative effects peers have on each other. These are all problems I want changed. My challenge: I have to be that change, no matter how hard it’ll be, or how much work I’ll have to put into it. I know what I want to change, I know I can change it, and I’m working on taking the steps towards being that change. So, to anyone who sees a problem they want fixed I say to them, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”