This I Believe

Shelby - Birmingham, Alabama
Entered on January 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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“This I Believe” Essay

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” That quote takes some people a long time to understand. In fact, I just started to appreciate its meaning a few days ago. I believe that a simple act of kindness can change someone’s life.

At times, it is difficult and even tiresome to be kind, because people so often get offended by it. Other times people see gestures of kindness as being someone else’s attempt to feel better about themselves by doing good for others. However, I believe that everyone in the world needs to give and receive kindness everyday in order to live a meaningful life.

I first began to see the importance of kindness when my mother told me a story about a man at work. Coincidentally, he also used to attend the church that I have visited a few times. When my mother found out he had gone to that church, she asked him why she had never seen him there before. He told her that he had stopped attending that church because a family there had spread a very hurtful rumor about him, and some people believed it. It hurt him deeply because he had not only been attending the church for several years, but he was friends with the pastor and several of the members. When my mother saw him at work, she told him that he should try going back to church if it was that important to him, and that he could not let a rumor ruin his life and happiness. Every Sunday since then, I have seen him at church. My mother did a simple thing by befriending the man and talking to him, but her kindness changed his life.

Unlike my mother and most other people I know, kindness does not come easily to me. I like keeping things to myself and accomplishing things by myself. I usually don’t make grand gestures of giving people compliments and stuff like that. After my mom told me the story about the man at church, I realize that people don’t need to make a big deal out of being kind. Being kind can simply mean helping someone with school or befriending someone who seems lonely. I believe that simple acts of kindness can change lives and the world.