Don’t Hate, Appreciate

Rachel - Alexander, Arkansas
Entered on March 20, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

If you have a little brother, you’ll know where I’m coming from. Silly, weird, and always in your face, little brothers can be the worst; however, underneath all of that, they have giant hearts and are just looking to be loved back. I believe in appreciating your family. They’re the only one you’re going to get.

When I was nine years old, one summer’s day completely changed my relationship with my brother. Kevin was five, and we were at the neighborhood swimming pool with our daycare. The day started out so unbelievably normal that I never would have thought it would stick in my mind forever. It all started with a splash. The lifeguard had suddenly, without warning, jumped into the pool. I was just trying to figure out why, like all of the other kids around me. Then, I saw the lifeguard pull my baby brother out of the water. At that, my entire world began to collapse around me.

Instantly, I felt unbelievable fear—fear for my brother’s life. He was unconscious, and the lifeguard had to perform CPR on him. All I could think about was how I had treated my brother up to that moment. Flashes of mean things I had said ran through my mind. Tears cascaded down my cheeks, and I knew in that moment that my behavior towards my brother had not been acceptable. Instead of being a good, supportive big sister, I thought only about myself. I realized that his hugs and stupid jokes were part of his quest for affection, his way of showing me love. It was then that my entire belief system changed from all about me to all about others.

Thankfully, as my brother was rushed to the emergency room, I had a teacher to comfort me and pray with me. I knew, as I prayed with her, that Kevin was going to make it. But, if he had died, I would have been very upset with myself because I hadn’t had a chance to show my little brother that I did love and appreciate him. Much more than he had been able to realize.

I think appreciation is important because it shows people that you really care about them. It’s the universal love language. The best thing you can do for someone is let him or her know that you value his or her presence.

I once heard someone say “Don’t hate, appreciate.” I don’t know where or when, but hearing those three words really opened my eyes, and I decided to make it my personal motto. I believe it describes my relationship with my brother very well. I believe in appreciation, but I don’t think you should wait for a life-changing experience to start appreciating others. You should realize what you have before it’s gone, because you might not be lucky enough to get it back, as I was.

When I was nine years old, one summer’s day completely changed my relationship with my brother. Kevin was five, and we were at the neighborhood swimming pool with our daycare. The day started out so unbelievably normal that I never would have thought it would stick in my mind forever. It all started with a splash. The lifeguard had suddenly, without warning, jumped into the pool. I was just trying to figure out why, like all of the other kids around me. Then, I saw the lifeguard pull my baby brother out of the water. At that, my entire world began to collapse around me.

Instantly, I felt unbelievable fear—fear for my brother’s life. He was unconscious, and the lifeguard had to perform CPR on him. All I could think about was how I had treated my brother up to that moment. Flashes of mean things I had said ran through my mind. Tears cascaded down my cheeks, and I knew in that moment that my behavior towards my brother had not been acceptable. Instead of being a good, supportive big sister, I thought only about myself. I realized that his hugs and stupid jokes were part of his quest for affection, his way of showing me love. It was then that my entire belief system changed from all about me to all about others.

Thankfully, as my brother was rushed to the emergency room, I had a teacher to comfort me and pray with me. I knew, as I prayed with her, that Kevin was going to make it. But, if he had died, I would have been very upset with myself because I hadn’t had a chance to show my little brother that I did love and appreciate him. Much more than he had been able to realize.

I think appreciation is important because it shows people that you really care about them. It’s the universal love language. The best thing you can do for someone is let him or her know that you value his or her presence.

I once heard someone say “Don’t hate, appreciate.” I don’t know where or when, but hearing those three words really opened my eyes, and I decided to make it my personal motto. I believe it describes my relationship with my brother very well. I believe in appreciation, but I don’t think you should wait for a life-changing experience to start appreciating others. You should realize what you have before it’s gone, because you might not be lucky enough to get it back, as I was.