This I Believe

Danielle - Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Entered on October 22, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Life-Shaping Scars

All people have experiences in their lifetimes when they chose their beliefs and lifestyles. An experience that left a mark on me forever happened in a toy store parking lot. I was nine years old, absorbed in my own life, and delighted with the possibility of receiving a new stuffed animal. In the corner of the lot, my mother had noticed a man bent under the hood of his car who looked frustrated and confused. Even though he obviously needed help, the people all around him were completing their shopping as usual. Some were pushing their carts full of toy castles and dolls that their children would probably become bored with in an hour. Others were entirely preoccupied, trying to loosen their kids’ white-knuckle grips on toys which they were about to return. All of the people, young and old, acted like they couldn’t even see the man and his car. Even though we were running late, my mother parked next to him and helped him jump his car for fifteen minutes. I was puzzled as I continued to watch all the people around us ignore this man’s car trouble.

When we went into the store, I was too distracted and confused to ask for anything. However, as we were leaving, I felt weighed down as if I were carrying an entire train set. I asked my mom why we were the only people to notice that man. I wanted to know why we were the ones to help him when there were dozens of people closer that could have helped more easily.

My mom’s answer was simple: If we don’t help him when he is in need, who will help us when we need it? While I am sure that my mother has no recollection of this, her words had a lasting, profound effect on me. Since that day, I believe that even though our own lives seem more important than anyone else’s, people should always stop to help others who cannot help themselves. The experience is one of many that have left a life-shaping scar on me that I will never erase.

Every person who has lived a full childhood has a few permanent scars. To most, a scar is a blemish that is often covered up. Scars are not something that people want to reveal. Most people don’t want anyone to know that the incident left a mark on them, and so they do everything they can to erase the painful experience completely.

When I look at any of my scars, I instantly think of the story that goes with it. I believe that a scar is more than a blemish. It is a reminder of an experience that has changed me permanently. All people leave a permanent mark on each other whenever they interact. I know the experiences I have had with others has helped to define me as a human being and shape my morals and beliefs.