This I Believe

Larissa - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

My childhood was always one of happiness and ease. I had loving parents and a sister whom I was extremely close with. My belief on family was only focused on my own. Your mother’s duty was to stay home and manage the house, your father’s duty was to dress in nice clothes and work all day, and it was your duty to go to school. My only idea of life was that of my own, and I was very naive when considering the world around me. One night when I was thirteen, my mother and I were driving home when we were approached by two children walking on the side of the road. The girl looked about my age, and the boy much younger. I was confused when I saw them because my mom would never let me out past nine on a school night, let alone walk along busy streets. When my mother rolled down her window, the girl explained that she and her brother were walking to their dad’s house, but they had gotten lost. They left their mother’s house around six; she wouldn’t give them a ride. It was 10:30 pm. As my mother and the girl and boy talked, I sat in the passenger seat wondering what was happening. Would my mother really let two strangers get into our car? I had school the next day; homework I needed to complete. Eventually, my mother decided to take them to their father’s house, and we began driving. Once they entered our car, I finally got a good look at them. They looked so similar to me and my friends except for their faces. They appeared scared. I slowly began to regret my initial feelings toward them and I eventually felt awful when I saw their father’s home. Their father lived in a very poor part of town that I had never been to. As they got out of the car, my mom and I both decided to wait until they got inside the house. After about five minutes, the girl came back to the car and politely asked if we could drive to their grandmother’s house. Her dad did not answer the door, and she did not feel safe in the neighborhood. When we arrived at their grandmother’s house, they both got out of the car and the girl thanked my mother and me profusely. As we drove home, all I could think about was the girl and the life she lived. She and her brother did not have a conventional relationship; it was like she took care of him because their mother didn’t. I never heard the boy speak. This forever changed my belief on family and made me fully appreciate what I had. Although the girl and boy did not have the type of family I lived in, they still had a family however unfortunate. I now believe that the only thing in life that matters is family.

Word Count: 493