This I Believe

Jialing - carrollton, Texas
Entered on September 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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The Little Things

Never underestimate the power of a nice toilet. Simply put: nice, clean toilets alleviate my mood, while filthy, disgusting toilets put a frown upon my face. However, proper plumbing is rarely thought of as a luxury because of the abundance of it in advanced countries today. Nevertheless, think about it: how many times a day do we use the toilet? Such a convenience is easily ignored because of how effortlessly we can gain access to one. Six years ago, the toilet and proper plumbing were only minor and insignificant facets in my life until I had to use them. Consequently, my uneducated opinion towards toilets and other everyday items drastically changed when I embarked on my first trip to China.

Fresh off a sixteen-hour flight from Vancouver to China, I desperately searched for a restroom. In a couple of minutes, I had stumbled upon one, entered, and was glancing around for an empty stall. After locating one, I dashed towards it and shoved the stall door open. However, nothing in my life had prepared me for the sight in front of me: the toilet was in the ground. Stupefied, I stared at this uncivilized plumbing and pondered over which method I should employ to use one. It turned out that I had to “squat” in order to use these horrific toilets. Those two weeks that I spent in China without proper toilets were some of the most mortifying and miserable weeks in my life.

After this traumatizing experience, I began to believe in appreciating the “little things”. When one has to live life without the “little things”, one gains gratitude for them. Having never appreciated nor seen plumbing elsewhere, I began to praise the sanitation system we have in America. Likewise, I began to value other minor everyday items such as soft toilet paper, the TV remote, and even working pens. I came to understand that these insignificant objects make life immensely easier.

I believe that these daily conveniences contribute to what defines the world. Such objects have constructed monumental architectural structures, mapped countries around the world, and even altered the course of history. For instance: Beethoven could not have composed hundreds of symphonies if he could not locate inconsequential items such as papers and quills. Ben Franklin could not have discovered electricity without seemingly useless items such as a kite and a key. Thomas Jefferson could not have written the Declaration of Independence without a pen at hand. These men could not have achieved such magnificent feats without the “little things”, therefore, giving adulation to the “little things” is essential because after all: they create all the difference in the world.