This I Believe

Mei Lin - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: humility

He was the new kid. I didn’t know his name, his family, where he was from, or his history. All I knew was that he was a new face in my homeroom. I decided to give this new student Dante a chance and invited him to my lunch table. As days passed, I noticed a few unusual qualities about him. Qualities most Walton students did not have.

A common problem in the crowded lunchroom was the shortage of chairs. If you got up just for a second, someone would steal your chair simply because he was too lazy to find his own. Whenever this happened to someone at our table, Dante would willingly give up his seat. Then, he would walk around until he came across a vacant chair. He was giving. He was humble. He was strange.

After observing Dante’s attitude, I began searching what it truly meant to break out of my self-centered routine. How did Dante do it? He was confident and still did the jobs that no one wanted. He was secure, but still he humbly had a servant’s heart. A servant is not a label well thought of, yet Dante seemed content in acting like one. This concept made me think. Then I had a sudden realization: humility and serving others isn’t about thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

So much of our day and time is consumed with a self-centered mentality. Rushed by our own agendas, we find it hard to stop and help that clumsy kid pick up his scattered books in the hallway. Yet I’ve found that the best way to be noticed is to start noticing others first.

Sometimes it’s hard to humble ourselves to that level. To give up our own pride. To do the unwanted jobs. To do something kind for someone else. We’d rather be planning our weekend. Instead, we could be taking time to make that kid a simple birthday card because that may be the only present he’ll get that day. I serve others with hopes that someday when I’m in need, someone else will return the favor.

When I look at the people around me today, their lives go from one temporary high to another. I find this very unsatisfying, but by simply reaching out, we could have a lasting impact on another’s life. I strive to devote a fragment of my day to another. Some count it loss. I count it gain.