This I Believe

Laura - Salt Lake City, Utah
Entered on December 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

When someone sets a good example, I can’t help but to follow. Many times the things that I notice in people are the qualities that I have not yet developed, or may not even have at all. Examples come in all different shapes and forms, and from people you might not expect. In my case, some people unexpected taught me one of life’s most important lessons: gratitude. They showed me that being appreciative is one of the best feelings. I realized that I needed to express more gratitude for what I have and become more aware of all the people I need to thank. I believe that gratitude is contagious.

In the summer of 2004, I went on a trip to Juarez, Mexico. This was not your typical “go to the beach, shop till you drop” trip. It was a service/charity trip where I, along with my father and sister would help Globus Relief pass out goods to very poor villages, hospitals, and even prisons. I can’t say that I was very excited for this, and was scared, but I went regardless. It turned out to be one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, and definitely one that I won’t forget. In one of the very rural and meager villages, my father took me inside one of the homes… or more like a hut. It was smaller than the size of my own bedroom, and five people lived in it. This family didn’t have a bathroom, but had a smelly old outhouse full of disgusting bugs. We were instructed to give them a box of food that contained dry rice, dry beans, and flour: this was something that I would never make out as something to think twice about, or get excited about. But when they were given these simple little necessities, each of their faces lit up with exceedingly great joy. They thanked us so many times. This wasn’t a mere, “Thank you, now please leave my home,” but was done in a manner that really got to my heart. I knew that they really meant it. Visiting many other families gave me the same warm feelings, and I wanted to continue giving, just to see their joy and gratitude.

Through this experience I was able to conclude that I really wanted to spread this gratitude that the poorest people of Juarez, Mexico had demonstrated to me. I know that the concept of gratitude is one that many of us lack, yet is one of the key things to getting through life successfully. Through their example, I learned that it really makes you feel better to be grateful, along with spreading that feeling to the people you are thanking. Gratitude truly is contagious. This I Believe.