This I Believe

Ben - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe some things have got to be kept sacred. I’m a little surprised myself to find that I, a teenager growing up in the heat of the technology and internet boom where people my age are desensitized to just about everything and someone who lives in a country where I’m proud that anyone can express just about anything they want, I can still be deeply offended. There are still things my peers say that I cringe at and remark “Hey, come on” and there are still some things I’ll see on T.V. and afterwards will think to myself in a cloud of self-pity, “Ugh… did I really just need to see that?” I feel respect should still be given where it’s due and people could lighten up a little and lay off. Last year when I participated in The Day of Silence in which students don’t speak for a day in support of respect towards people of all differences, I accidentally slipped up and uttered one word during my lunch period. My friend then started ripping on me for how I don’t respect and am unfair against gays and lesbians. Perhaps I’m too sentimental or can’t take a joke, but in my then silence I felt my friend was crossing a line that was cruelly crossed. Everything close to who I am, my ideals, opinions, values, nationality, heredity is all fair game as it is with everyone else to be judged, torn down, mocked, proven wrong, or just plain exposed and made fun of; nothing is sacred. I’d describe being offended as if there was a giant brick wall in the pit of your soul that stands for all the goodness that makes up who you are and being offended as the feeling of one of those self-relying bricks being snatched out, perhaps an entire section of the wall blown apart and being left with a cold, empty, unsteady feeling inside. But some things have just got to be kept sacred. Otherwise, what would I be left with? Some things in my life, whether they’re my most prized memories or ironclad ideals, must remain untouched and unstained. I believe for me to live on as a person, I need a solid base, a rock-hard foundation to stand off from. So I toughen myself up. I suppose it’s about staying positive and keeping your perspective in an age where kids grow up earlier and attempt to prematurely understand adulthood. I’m careful of what I expose myself to. More importantly, I’m careful about my attitude to what people have to say to me and I don’t let the things that I do see and hear get to me too much. It’s part of growing up and realizing our world. I harden my skin and attempt to see past the ignorance that anyone mocks or judges me by. I believe some things have got to be kept sacred and my dignity and personal sanity are some of them.