This I Believe

Sophia - Federal Way, Washington
Entered on December 4, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

The philosopher Seneca once said, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness”. I believe we all have a chance and potential to show the goodness in ourselves. Being a kind person is one thing, but doing something kind is another. Kindness is a virtue that should be aspired. It’s not something we’re born with, rather a quality that is taught by seeing it in others.

Thoughtfulness is something that is often taken advantage of. People no longer seem to appreciate the good intentions of others, whether it is a simple gesture or a purposeful act. Being young, I especially see this in people my age, and their inability to be gracious of others. At school, walking through the halls I see so many genuine people that are unrecognized for the kind things they do, like holding open a door, helping someone with class work, or even lending a pencil. Kindness at this age isn’t something we have to do, but something we choose to do.

Most don’t realize that one nice thing can impact a person greatly. Fortunately for me, I have been a “victim” of kindness, all because I lost my wallet. As I was getting on the metro bus one day, I realized that my wallet was gone, and I had no way to pay 50 cents. Pulling my cousin aside, I asked her to help me search through my bag, hoping I had only misplaced it. We were holding up the line to get on the bus, and the driver was becoming impatient, so we decided to sit at the bus stop and further look through my bag. After about ten minutes, and a lot of frustration, I knew it was gone. All I could think was whoever finds this is just going to steal what they can. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. A few weeks later, I received a package in the mail. Opening it, I felt a sigh of relief, and a huge appreciation for whoever had sent back my wallet. There was a return address on the package, so I decided to write him a letter. I expressed how thankful I was, and how I had come to realize I should do the same for someone else: a good deed for an unsuspecting person.

I don’t think that person will ever know how much that affected me, how it changed my outlook on being kind. Most people would not have felt a slight compassion for the person who lost their wallet, instead they would have taken the money and not have thought twice about it, but he did. This small gesture, it seemed trivial at the time, but in fact, it has actually changed something profound in me, and I now find myself wanting to do things for other people, more often than I used to. I believe goodwill is an act of giving, when a person doesn’t expect anything in return. The person who did this for me didn’t exactly expect anything back, but I feel that he was just doing the right thing, and hopefully he wanted something within me to do that as well.

I believe that all it takes is the willingness to become the best person I can be, a generous person who thinks of others before myself. Kindness is a sort of movement, where one nice gesture creates another. After all, it only takes one person to become the change they want to see.