This I Believe

Kelly - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on October 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Kind. What a soft word, a short word, a word that everyone hopes and tries to be. It’s a word that’s good to the ears and nice to the heart. It’s merely a bite size word with a rather life size impact. I know in my life, kindness is what I strive for and what I need in return for encouragement. Everyday is a bad day for at least someone and you have got to admit, how does it feel when someone genuinely smiles at you? For me, it makes my day.

I recently attended my grandfather’s funeral and it was there where I saw the true impact his life had on others. Looking at the attendance book, my cousins and I patiently counted over four hundred names of people both young and old, some family and the majority friends, that came to see him for the last time. Four hundred people is an incredibly large amount, and from the lips of the funeral director, it was the most she had ever seen. It was amazing to see that at the very end of his ninety years of life, after being unable to talk for the past year and a half, those four hundred people still remembered who he was and felt the need to pay their respects to him. Some hadn’t seen him in over twenty years, some were physically, barely able to make it inside the funeral home doors, but yet they kept on coming. Many probably wondered what he did that impacted that many people. I know I did. Hearing the stories of my grandfather’s past peers, co-workers, employees, and buddies as they talked to my grandma and how they said that he had never failed to show them kindness, brought me to tears. They said he was there when they needed him most and sacrificed himself in order to help them. He was polite, always joyful, and showed nothing less than respect. For some, they said their lives would forever be changed because of him.

My eyes had officially been opened. That’s the kind of person I want to be. It’s not always easy constantly spending your life helping others. Believe me, I am guilty of having plenty of opportunities to be and show kindness, but haven’t taken them, just like many of you probably have. I don’t know about you, but I want to be the person that is remembered for being kind, for bringing sunshine to people’s lives, even if it’s with a simple “Hi, how are you doing today?” and a smile.

So, I encourage you to smile at someone that looks like they are having a bad day, eat lunch with the not-so-cool kid, thank the tired pizza delivery boy and roll that window down and give a buck to the homeless man that you would normally lock your car doors to. Who knows, you might have just changed someone’s life. That’s why I believe in bringing sunshine into the lives of others.