The Power of Being Acknowledged

Sasha - Berkeley, California
Entered on January 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Having compassion toward others is a value to me. It’s the ability to care for some else and understand where they’re coming from. Sometimes having compassion involves just listening and acknowledging others, and other times in involves acting upon it.

I have a lot of compassion for people who have less than me, mainly homeless people. I am very fortunate for all the things that I have, even if it’s as simple as being able to have a glass of water at every meal. Or having a bed to sleep on, under a protected roof. So when I see ways that I can help peoples lives, I try to. I give them money, food or blankets, if I can. Helping someone is a way to acknowledge him or her.

I remember one night when I met a homeless man, which I will never forget.

I was about 10 years old. My dad and I were taking a late night stroll with my dog in Ohlone Park. It was cold out, very windy and foggy. We came across this guy lying under a tree. His knees were pressed against his chest, trying to stay warm. He was shivering. We walked right past him, and continued on our walk, but I couldn’t get that image out of my head. I just kept seeing his face and the deep sorrow in his eyes.

When I finally got home, I told to my dad we had to do something. And my dad agreed. We searched our house and found a warm blanket. We grabbed an apple, a banana and a piece of bread and headed back to the park. After searching for 20 minutes, we were ready to give up because we couldn’t find this man anywhere.

I took one more look, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him curled under a bench. We walked slowly towards him, and handed him the things we had packed.

I don’t remember him saying anything, but when he grasped that warm blanket and took a bite of the bread, I knew we had changed his night. He probably still was unhappy with his life, but for that one moment he knew that some one had seen him and cared enough to take the time to do something for him.