This I Believe

Matthew - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect
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This I Believe

I believe that treating everyone around you with respect is the key to being a good person. I hold this belief due to many reasons. I have been around respect from the very beginning of my life. As a little kid, thanks to my pre-school teachers and my church, I was told to respect my parents. At times my parents seemed like the worst parents in the world, but I now know that I am very fortunate and that I can always rely on my parents. They are the only two parents I will ever have, I am extremely lucky that I have a great relationship with both of them.

After pre-school, I started to make some friends. The were usually people my mom set up play dates with or kids on my block, but I had no sense of loyalty or friendship to these people. Later in life I learned that I had to respect my friends and their want for privacy, or inclusion, and that I must treat my peers the way I want to be treated. Friends proved in my life to be very useful in fulfilling social and emotional needs.

I also had to learn to treat my teachers and elders other than my parents with respect. I started excelling as a student, so I was forced to build at least neutral student-teacher relationships. This helped me become a better student and person in the long run. I had to learn to get along with all types of people for the good of my studies.

As all these relationships were being formed; I myself as a person, and my personality was also being formed. I soon became the nice friendly kid in class. At my grade school I won school citizen of the year. This friendly face I was had seemed to fade away in middle school. I became rude to some people and did not give many “weird” kids at school respect. I became quite unpleasant to deal with and was disciplined for bullying. Our school system instated the pillars of character, one of which was respect. This theme was reinforced at my high school in our Class Principles, the first of which stating: We treat each other with dignity and respect. Simultaneously I joined a high school youth group. I learned to respect people of different backgrounds from the people that joined this youth group. In my community service with this youth group, I learned that you must treat people less fortunate than you with respect as well. This has changed my view on life, and as made me a more wholesome individual.

In its simplest form, my belief is that the “golden rule” is a good guide to your character. And while this is important, the mutual respect, sometimes even if you do not receive respect from a person, you must treat them with respect.