This I Believe

Sharon - Cooper City, Florida
Entered on June 6, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family, love


I believe that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. It does take a village to raise a child. And when that child becomes elderly, it’s our obligation to give care then, too.

I was raised with the understanding that a mitzvah is not charity and is not merely a good deed, but an obligation as a human being to do what’s right in all circumstances. I believe that it’s a mitzvah to keep our neighbor’s child from running into the street or getting into trouble. It’s a mitzvah to help without the fanfare of announcing one’s righteous acts and expecting praise. It’s a mitzvah to allow our elderly to live in dignity in their twilight years; not having to choose between food, or their medications.

I believe that if we save just one life-whether through our mentoring, support, or medical care, then our act is as if we have saved the world.

I believe that instead of providing our children with things, we should give them concepts to live by. When my children bury me, I don’t want to be remembered as the mom who bought-or didn’t-the expensive sneakers, clothing, and toys they wanted. I want my legacy to be one of role modeling. I want to be remembered for my love, caring, and compassion. I want my children and their children and their children’s children to know that we are on earth for a short time. And in that span, we are to enrich the lives of others, for by doing that, we surely shall enrich our own.

By my age, society places me in the “Sandwich Generation”. Although it presents its difficulties, it’s also a gift. I live in the present, torn by the needs of my aging parents and my grown children. I dream of the future. When is it my turn, I wonder? Our adult sons try not to share their burdens with us, but in their best interests, two have come home to “roost” with us a while. They see us struggling with their grandparents’ needs and their own, remarking at how we’re pressured from both ends. The stresses don’t end; they just shift between generations. How can that be a gift? It’s a lesson for us all. This is the ebb and flow of life. We nurture our loved ones just as they provided for us. Our parents become our children and our children learn how they are to protect us in our later years.

We must also teach them to embrace and celebrate life’s joys; for they are today’s pleasures and all too soon, the treasures of their past. Learning those lessons are the gifts of living. This, I believe.