This I Believe

Travis - Fithian, Illinois
Entered on September 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

While day dreaming my way through class recently, I read an inspirational poster hanging on the wall entitled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. The poem explains that people should learn to share and help others; however, the most important lesson I learned from the poem is that life is full of ups and downs, and that we can get through them. As the years have passed, I have learned how to handle these ups and downs. In fact, much of the adversity I have faced has defined what kind of person I am. After all, adversity is adversity.

Throughout my life, I have had to face adversity, both good and bad. Last spring, my grandmother underwent a knee replacement surgery. It sounds harmless enough, but at 87 years old any surgery can be disastrous. And hers was. She had a severe stroke during her surgery, and no longer could control the left side of her body. My family was devastated. My granddad had never missed a day of work on the farm, and suddenly he missed a summer. It was depressing, watching him go to the hospital everyday and just sit with my grandmother. It became especially hard on the farm, because I had never known another boss. But I did it. As a family, we were forced to make difficult decisions, such as sending my grandmother to permanent residence in Florida. There were times when it was very difficult, but I persevered.

There have also been times in my life when I have been on the good end of things. Recently, I received a check in the mail from the local grain elevator. I was shocked when I opened it up and found it to be a check for $9444.40, a healthy sum for a high school teenager. You can imagine the euphoria it threw me into. Thoughts of buying luxury items flooded into my mind. I was intent on spending every cent as quickly as possible. Just to be sure that this mysterious check really was for me, I made a telephone call. Surely enough, the check turned out to be sent to me by mistake, and the check had already been voided.

Of course, these two examples are a little more serious than the examples given in the poem, but its message remains the same. Every day, when I face adversity, I try to remember that life is full of ups and downs, and that I can overcome them. The way I react to the challenges in my life defines me, and remembering the elementary lesson can help me overcome life’s struggles. I believe that I can overcome these struggles, and remain true to myself.