This I Believe

Alexandra - Voorhees, New Jersey
Entered on April 27, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

“My Ultimate Reflection”

A Rabbi once gave a powerful sermon which will remain with me forever. His words spoke such volume, helping to guide my life and actions each and every day.

“It is not the amount of money one amasses in his lifetime which will make a difference; it is the number of building blocks or good deeds that he performs which will determine his ultimate fortune.”

Being a good person and doing the right thing may not always be easy, but it is necessary. This, I believe.

I am seventeen years old, and I still remember the first time that I stood up for something that was right. I was part of a group of friends that were inseparable. We were all for one and one for all. However, at lunch on one particular day, things had changed. I noticed one of our classmates was sitting alone, and tears were streaming down her face. My friends were snickering and making nasty remarks about her. I asked what she had done to cause them to say such terrible things. For this they had no answer. I struggled with the situation and found myself caught in a dilemma. I could join my friends and ignore the situation around me, or I could do the right thing by standing up for someone else. I went out on a limb and stood by the girl’s side. My friends’ anger toward me seemed irrelevant, for I knew that the choice I made was the right one.

This situation ultimately taught me that I do not have to follow the pack if what they are doing is wrong. I can do the right thing even if I have to sacrifice something in my own life. I soon came to realize that these were the building blocks or deeds that the Rabbi was referring to.

A few months ago, my best friend was having a party. We were all excited and looking forward to having a great time. However, on that same weekend, my grandfather became critically ill. You couldn’t blame me for wanting to be with my friends. I am, after all, a teenager who wants to have fun. However, I knew in my heart what was right and where I would end up. By choosing to spend time with my grandfather, I was given the greatest gift of all. I learned more from and about him, was able to show him how much he meant to me, and was able to be there for my family. When he passed away a few days later, I knew that I had made the right decision. Those last few days with him were priceless, and they have ultimately, as a result, made me into a more compassionate and better person.

Many times in life the hardest thing and the right thing are the same, but I believe that doing that which is right is the greatest prize of all. If you can look in the mirror and like the person that you see within yourself, then you have achieved greatness. This, I believe.