This I Believe

Kevin - St. Charles, Illinois
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I was born into a middle class society out in the crowded city of Chicago. I have a big, healthy family and a house in St. Charles. We all go to school, and we all have something to live for. Even though we are not those people who can eat at an Olive Garden every day, I do know that some people in the world would give an arm to afford to live in an apartment with rusty walls and broken windows. Others would die tomorrow if for one day they could have a family. At my school I realize that not everybody lives the same way I do. Some people have divorced parents or live in a foster home. Others can only afford food, shelter, and clothing to last them throughout the day. The families that can afford to eat at Olive Garden for dinner every day obviously have a lot to be thankful for, and I know I can be thankful for my house, food, and family as well. Even the kids who have one meal every two days have something to be thankful for. But when I complain that my food tastes like cat litter or there’s a hair in my drink, it’s hard to consider the people in other countries whose stomachs are as empty as a desert. Or if I complain that I just went through a bad relationship, I usually fail to realize that there are some people who will never know what it’s like to be loved. I may grouch because I am having a bad hair day, or have split ends. Well there are kids with cancer who have never had hair in their entire life and maybe never will.

But what about the kids who have no home somewhere in Africa or who have no hair because they have cancer? Do they have something to be thankful for? The way I see it is everyone can be thankful for something in his or her life. The victims of Hurricane Katrina probably lost their home, their food, and maybe even their family. They lost just about everything there is to be thankful for, except for the one thing that we can all be thankful for. I heard from a chinese proverb that, “The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on water, but to walk on this earth.” To me this meant that when all is lost and hope is forgotten, we could still be thankful that we have the gift of life. So I know that everyone can at least be thankful to be living on Earth.

I was once in a bad mood because my parents would always say, “You can’t go until your homework is finished.” I couldn’t leave the housed until all my homework was completed. So when I got home, I usually just went into the family room with a frown on my face and sat on the couch. I held this grudge for about two weeks until my dad took me to an oriental mart in the afternoon. I rushed into the car when I heard we were going there because I always loved their rice cakes they sold there. My dad sat me down at a table and told me about my one of my friends who was on his way to Colorado for winter break. The snow was coming down hard and they were going about 60 mph. They were surrounded by miles of fields where farmers grew their crops. It was between 12:00 and 2:00 in the afternoon, and his sister had been driving on the highway. Their sedan slipped on an ice patch and the entire car rolled several times off the road. His sisters walked away from the car; he was sent to the hospital, and both his parents had died. I just sat there confused on how I should feel about the situation. I kept eating my rice cakes as if nothing had happened, but for the rest of that day I stayed home and did just about nothing. I didn’t bother talking to my parents since they knew I was over my grudge. The only thing I thought of was what I would do if my parents died when I was that young.

So I know now that I can be thankful for a lot of things I have, but I’ve wondered how I can be thankful for what I have. Well I started off by not complaining about things like sharing my room or not having an I-pod. I’ve found that I don’t have to do big deeds like volunteer or give to the poor to be thankful. Although, to be really thankful, I think it would be a good idea to help those who are unfortunate. I show my thanks by trying to be in a good mood every day, because I know I can still be thankful that I have my home, my family, and my life.