This I Believe

Timothy - Winchendon, Massachusetts
Entered on December 10, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Timothy Jackson

This I Believe

Live by example. As a Christian college student, it is often difficult to live a righteous life. Although I stumble and make mistakes, I believe that by leading a Christian life daily, I can witness to those around me.

People that are considered role-models such as movie stars and musicians lead by example. Their high profile lives attract the attention of children, adolescence and adults. I see this imitation most often in young women. When a new songstress becomes popular, their clothing choice, personality and attitude seem to be channeled into these impressionable young ladies. One day, I see a singer like Avril Lavigne encourages girls to be independent and to ignore boys’ advances. A few months later Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton are persuading girls that sex appeal is important and that boys are play things. This kind of manipulation demonstrates how powerful a person’s example can be.

Although celebrities are the most visual people that lead by example, I believe that any common person can affect change in people through their actions. Children at school often influence their peers through either mischievous shenanigans or humble politeness. As for me, daily actions that for me are routine often impact people without me knowing it. The other day, I was speaking with a student who happens to be a senior when he mentioned that he had noticed me praying before a meal and how much that meant to him. Although I had not intended to, I had affected this person’s life. Similarly, saying “bless you” after a classmate sneezes seems common but you would be surprised how many people refrain either from awkwardness or because they don’t notice. I say it as often as I can and I have noticed people following suite. An insignificant few words can inspire people to be polite. Insignificant acts when done daily with meaning and change people.

Many of my actions are ruled by my religious beliefs. When confronted with religious beliefs, many people are dismissive and jaded. By expressing my beliefs through my actions, that iron curtain can be circumvented. Attributes like love, compassion, humbleness, trust, respect, mercy, honesty and hard work can be conveyed without a single word. When people search for active ways of affecting change, they often turn to loud violent rioting and angry verbal barrages but I believe that the same result could be achieved through living by example. One of the most noteworthy individuals to lead by example once said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Mohandas Gandhi’s example moved an entire nation to nonviolence. If one small man’s humble life can persuade legions of suppressed, angry and riled people to put aside all aggression, what could we accomplish? Live by example and you can change the world.