Do What It Takes

Austin - Ava, Missouri
Entered on February 20, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I remember the moment as if it just happened. Lucky had been my dog for several years and at the time she was five and I eleven. My protective dog had just attacked a child visiting my home who had intended to strike me with a stick. My father ordered me to get the .22 rifle as he tied my dog to a tree. My heart sank as I knew what would come next.

At the age of six I combed the night engulfed woods surrounding my home for a crying puppy that had been abandoned. Five years later while squinting down a gun barrel into that same puppy’s eyes a million unforgettable memories flashed before me. My dog understood the power of a gun since she had witnessed its work many times. The sorrow in her eyes as I steadied the sights on her would pierce my soul forever. After I squeezed the trigger my best friend laid motionless and dead before me. I had no choice.

I believe in doing what I have to do. As I became older my father constantly taught me that difficult choices, fear, and doing the right things at the right times were directly linked to each other. In time, I saw this through my own experiences. Fear often accompanied hard choices because of the uncertainties and losses that came with such choices, but delaying the right decision would only induce more fears and more hard choices.

As I approached adulthood at sixteen years old my father helped me get my first vehicle. The day he handed me the keys he said that he would pay for the insurance and I would pay for gas, but if I failed on my part then I would not drive. Hence, I found a job to earn money for gas and abandoned baseball. I did what I had to do. I reduced social time with friends in order to better excel in school while managing other responsibilities and assisting my family when needed. I had realized that my friends would never help me get to college or succeed in life, but completing my homework while also gaining responsibility, emotional strength, and maturity would. I did what I had to do.

Some people are born to follow, while others are born to act. I was born to act. I’ve always wanted to change the world, but I know I can’t tackle the entire planet at once. Even though my years are still young, and experiences relatively few, I understand that to succeed, and to help others around me succeed, I am often required to look past what I desire so that I may see what is needed. That is the right choice. The sacrifices with my dog and truck were my responsibility, but in each situation the decisions were not what I wanted, just what was necessary. Changing the world is about having a positive impact on the people and things around me. It’s about taking the lead when no one else will. It’s about doing what you have to do.