This I Believe

Esther - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Spread It Around

Whatever happened to kindness? Being courteous and polite? Maybe it’s just me, where I live, or my situation in life, but where was it when all these nice behaviors disappeared?

I have never been ultra friendly, but I have always tried my best not to be rude. People who have no consideration for anyone but themselves and act accordingly are one of those things that truly turn me off. There’s nothing like a genuinely rude person to turn me off the world, to turn me off people altogether. Perhaps I’m too sensitive, perhaps living in California has softened me too much. People always talk about the world being a dark and cold place. I don’t doubt it. But I refuse to believe that that is all the world has to offer. Perhaps it is naive, but I like to think that there is still some goodness in this world and it should be spread around.

On my way to school one morning, an elderly gentleman walked past me with a smile and a nice, “Good morning”. That morning that he greeted me with his smile, I was blind sighted. Rarely do I smile on my way to school, but that little token of courtesy let a little light into my day; into my monotonous routine of tedious schoolwork. I still see that man, every other day on my way to school and I have resolved to be equally as gracious and give him my best “Good morning” every time I see him.

As little as a gesture like that is, it makes some difference in my day. It reinforces my opinion that there are still polite, pleasant people out there. Now, whenever I walk down the street and feel confident enough, I try to smile and say “Hello” to the people I come across. Maybe it will make a difference in someone else’s day.

In the classic film, Harvey, the protagonist, Elwood P. Dowd (the epitome of the pleasant) tells a reporter, “Years ago, my mother used to say to me, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.” Although it is possible to be both smart and pleasant, sometimes we neglect our pleasant sides. When we become too involved in our own little lives, we sometimes neglect to look up and say “Hello.” I believe that once we try to forget our troubles and instead live and smile and greet people again, then we could try to make this world seem a little less bleak.