This I Believe

David - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on January 31, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

You Can Accomplish Anything

I have always grown up in a close knit family. But in that family, there was one man that was able to change my life forever. My grandfather, was a strong determined professor at the public university in the town that I grew up in. He was not necessarily a life changing professor, although he did win a few awards in the area. He did accomplish many things, he was a commander in the navy, set up a private college for disadvantaged children in Uganda, and worked as a principal in troubled public schools. But what has always truly touched me is the way that he treated me. I was his miracle grandchild. Stuck in the hospital for days with multiple diseases, most everyone thought that I would soon die. Most seemed to give up, but my parents refused, so my grandfather believed too. I soon recovered and, so far, have lived a healthy life minus a few too many greasy burgers. This changed my grandfather forever. He believed that I could accomplish anything. He would parade me proudly down the hallways of the university on a daily basis, and even took me to a few classes, I didn‘t get any credit though. He taught me to play the piano, dance, and instilled in me ideas that would follow me throughout my life. We were inseparable until we were separated forever. While I was still young, he died of a heart attack. Unable to fully comprehend the situation, I was still very depressed when I found out that I couldn’t spend any more time with him. But life moved on. I continued through school, made friends, and soon set out a goal for my future. I had decided that I wanted to help others. But like many young minds, I really didn’t know where to go from there. So I studied psychology and found it very interesting. But there was still this gaping hole in my plan, a lack of direction for my beliefs. So I graduated high school, the first of my generation in my family. Everyone was very proud. I was told that the best was yet to come, that now I could live out my dreams. What dreams? Dreams of helping others, without any direction? But I thanked them and happily moved into the summer. This is where my life was changed forever. This was my direction. I spent the first week of my summer enjoying myself and just basking in the idea that I didn’t have school anymore, I think that everyone does that, or if they haven’t they should. Then I began to pack my things for college. I, like most college students before me, was eager to go out on my own. But soon I found a book, just a picture book that had this man that looked like me in it. Except I was in a naval uniform. I watched this imposter’s life as he traveled around the pacific on this boat, then married this girl, then worked in Uganda. I took it to my mother and was immediately told that this was my grandfather. Smiling, she told me that I did look like him, and that she was told that many times by others. I asked about him, and learned all that I have told you, I had remembered some, but I learned more. Ironically this man had set up my beliefs and I had not remembered it. He had told me to always be polite, always help others, never expect rewards and always be happy when you get one. He told me to always smile, laugh even at corny jokes, and every once in a while take a walk just to clear your head. Throughout my life I had always done these things. I had always been the joker of my class, but I also had this reputation for holding doors for women and never speaking too harshly or vulgar. I always tried to be polite, and was sometimes successful, but most of all I wanted to help people. The hole was filled, I wanted to do what my grandfather did. I studied Uganda and my grandfathers work, as well as the work he did with troubled children. I helped raise money to buy farm animals for rural areas in Uganda, and have continued to study psychology. I hope to work as a clinical psychologist with children and adults, and I am working on going to Uganda with others, through my church, in two years. Upon starting college I was given my grandfathers necklace that he always wore, until he died. I always wear it to remember my beliefs. Always be polite, smile, laugh, and help others. And, oh yeah, you can accomplish anything.