This I Believe

Amanda - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

“Ogres are like onions,” the infamous Shrek angrily explained. People are layered. Before passing judgment, I think about other’s point of view. Empathy can change everything. I believe in the power of putting on others’ shoes.

In the movie Shrek, Shrek is a large, green ogre who uses his appearance to shield himself from the world. Most people either attack him or fear him, bur eventually he makes a friend and falls in love with a beautiful princess. The princess doesn’t truly love him until she realizes that they are the same. Every night, beautiful princess Fiona turns in to an ogre and becomes exactly like Shrek. Because she is in his skin, the princess sees what he sees and f eels what he feels. Fiona’s empathy caused her to judge Shrek fairly.

When I try to understand other’s actions, I observe their biases. For example, an Iraqi girl might think that the American army is out to get her family because they killed her father. In contrast, an American girl could be biased against Middle Eastern people because her father died in September 11th. Since they are children and don’t yet fully understand the concept of war, they fear each other. Their points of view are different because they both have biases. Biases, however, can be masked with empathy.

Empathy goes beyond thought. It moves people to action. My summer camp supports a charity called Compassion Incorporated. A lot of people don’t think about what happens in other parts of the world, but hearing testimonies from other countries made me. The images and stories from Africa lead over 3000 teenagers last summer to sponsor a child through Compassion, Inc. The Walton Interact Club also expressed empathy when they sent over twenty stockings to soldiers in hopes that their holidays would be brighter. Interact Club felt that if they were at war in a foreign country they would want a reminder of home.

The fact that I even tried to put on some one else’s shoes could change their life forever. It gave Compassion, Inc. children the opportunity to attend school, and offered them hope for a better future. Empathy helped our soldiers realize that we haven’t forgotten them. It helped Shrek and Fiona realize that they belong together. The opportunities are endless when you walk in other’s shoes.