We Aren’t Just Kids

Melanie - Sugar Land, Texas
Entered on February 27, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Anne Frank, born 1929, wrote a diary that inspired Holocaust survivors to tell their stories. Although she never intended it, her entries have told millions of children around the world that we can change something, that we can’t let people order us around our whole lives.

“Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.”- Anne Frank (June 20, 1942). The world tells us that we’re uninteresting and to just go do our chores, go to school, learn a thing or two, grow up, and then we can do something with our lives. Why wait? By the time you reach thirty, you feel old even if you don’t look it. You’ve got a job and possibly a family. You don’t have time to find time to do something extraordinary. Now, even if it’s in between softball practice and homework, is the time to at least start. Gina Gallant started in first grade by making paper out of broccoli and in 2001, paving 500 meters of Cranbrook Hill Road in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada with plastic and gravel. How many people do you think told her that the sky was the limit? I bet she listened to them, but always knew that there were footprints on the moon. The only way for us to do what others tell us we can’t is to believe in our selves and remember that we can do it.

You don’t have to live through the Holocaust or be a genius to do something great. On October 31, 2003, a fourteen foot tiger shark bit off Bethany Hamilton’s left arm just a few inches below her shoulder. At thirteen, she had her entire life ahead of her and instead of throwing it all away, she took advantage of the situation. In her book, Soul Surfer, she tells us how she never lost her faith in God or herself. If we lose our faith, then we start listening to the world telling us that we’re too young, too short, or just not there yet. To you grown-ups who look down on us so condescendingly, I have a few things to say to you. You may be smarter. You may have seen more of the world and its problems and think you know how solve them, but if you don’t teach us or help us along the way, things will never get done. If you never help us reach for the stars and you die before achieving your dreams, there won’t be anyone to follow in your footsteps or finish what you started. There won’t be anyone to even consider it. So don’t tell us that we’re just kids because we, these so-called “kids”, are the next big thing.