This I Believe

Christa - San Diego, California
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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There has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not it is in the nature of human beings to be inherently good, neutral, or bad. According to Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, people are in a “war of all against all,” inherently bad in nature. However, French philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau adheres to the idea that people are intrinsically good, bad habits being the result of corrupting civilization.

I agree with Rousseau.

I believe in the inherently good nature of people.

I came to this conclusion Valentine’s Day of my sixth grade school year. Earlier that year, a girl named Margie joined my class. Aside from being “the new girl”, she was different from everyone else. With extremely short hair, a stocky build, and awkward demeanor, Margie immediately became the outcast. When Valentine’s Day rolled around, and everyone hung folders on the backs of the chairs in hopes of receiving candy and cards, Margie was the only one whose folder remained empty halfway through the day.

When it came time for recess I ran outside to play kickball. Brian was one of the popular kids and I always made sure to be on his team. However, I didn’t see him out on the Astroturf so I went looking for him. He wasn’t anywhere out on the playground so I went back to the classroom to look for him there. I found him still sitting at his desk inside surrounded by construction paper, crayons, markers, and other various craft supplies. When I asked what he was doing he turned bright red and said, “I don’t have a crush on her, I just wanted her to feel good.”

He was making Margie a handful of Valentine’s Day cards, all in different shapes and sizes so they looked as though they came from different people.

He finished quickly, put them in her folder, and rushed outside to play kickball. When we all returned to the classroom I watched for Margie’s reaction. She said nothing but I saw in her eyes how much it meant to her. I don’t think I had ever seen her that happy.

Brian did not tell anyone what he did and never mentioned it to me again, but his anonymous act of kindness led me to my belief that people are indeed good in nature. A sixth grade boy willing to give up his recess in order to do something nice for someone else, seeking no praise, is enough to lead me to this conclusion. Brian may have been popular in the sixth grade because he was cute and really good at baseball, but he was popular to me because of his genuine compassion.