This I Believe

Abram - Los Angeles, California
Entered on May 18, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: gratitude
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Growing up I was taught that hard work and appreciativeness are very special qualities that every human being should possess, however I never really had to work for anything I had or have. Now I believe that you should appreciate even the smallest things in life. My parents sent me to a private Armenian school, where it was tradition for the senior class to go on a senior trip to Paris and Armenia. In Armenia I met a few of my relatives for the first time and one of them invited me to dinner. She lived alone in a cozy little apartment complex, where many of the tenants were poverty stricken. The building was old and underdeveloped. Sitting around a lavish table we talked about my parents and their childhood. Everything on the table was handmade, from the table cloth to the pastries. In a crystal pitcher she had made some sort of grape/cherry juice, and asked me if I would like some. After much contemplating whether I would or not, I told her that I’d rather have a glass of water, thinking to myself that a glass of water would be much more convenient for my host. She insisted that I try and drink the grape/cherry juice. I told her again that I would prefer a glass water instead, but again she insisted that I drink the juice. When I refused for the third time asking for water she told me that the building had the water supply cut off for the rest of the day and that she was going to be unable to get me the glass of water I wanted so “desperately.” I turned red and began to blush, feeling helpless and ashamed. Not knowing what to say or do, I took the pitcher and poured the juice in my glass and began to drink it.

It would be wise to say that I had an epiphany that particular day. Living a life full of privileges in a melting pot of a city like Los Angeles, I never truly understood what it means to truly appreciate the things you have. I didn’t think asking for water was much; apparently it turned out to be. I had been taught to appreciate the finer things in life, like happiness and health but not necessarily took it seriously. It was like I didn’t understand what the “finer things” in life were. For me the “finer things” included nice cars and expensive clothing. Although I was very embarrassed with what had happened at my relative’s home, I am extremely glad it did because I finally learned and understood what my parents worked so hard to teach me about respecting and valuing hard work. The concept finally got through and my ideologies changed drastically. Inevitably I did a lot of thinking on the eighteen hour plan ride home, and came to a very important conclusion. I believe that regardless of how much or how very little you have it is important that you appreciate it taking into consideration the fact that there are people out there who don’t have half as much as you do. Now every time I drink a nice cold glass of water I appreciate it greatly.