This I Believe

Julia - West Hills, California
Entered on January 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children
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This I believe

I believe that children have the ability to positively influence elderly people. I believe that this can be accomplished with small gestures of kindness.

I never thought it was cool or fun to hang out with senior citizens. My experiences, up until recently, were only with grandparents and great grandparents. Last year, my outlook on older people changed, when I was forced to attend a field trip with my temple to a senior citizens retirement home. I went in with a frown on my face because it was not what I wanted to do in my free time. But as I sat and listened to them, I actually started to have a good time. These people were smart, interesting, and loving. I know they appreciated me being there, as there aren’t many kids who visit.

I quickly became well adapted and comfortable. I played a game of poker with five seniors. I could see they got a kick out of it, and so did I. I honestly had more fun in that game than I do when I play with my friends. It lasted about ten to fifteen minutes, but for me it flew by as fast as a hundred yard dash. For them, it quite possibly was the highlight of their week. They let me know they spend most of their time watching TV, reading books, and playing board or “bored” games. This may sound like heaven to kids or even adults, but elderly people would rather be outside and socializing with other people.

This experience made me think about what other gestures I could do to make someone’s day, and even my own. Such things as visiting a lonely neighbor or baking cookies for a friends’ grandmother can serve two purposes. First, the giver can feel good about themselves for performing a good deed. Second, the receiver of the deed can have their spirits lifted. I believe that if every child did one nice thing for any senior citizen just one day a week, our world would be a better and happier place. Sometimes we have to open up our minds, and think about other people beside ourselves. This means

leaving our comfort zone. I plan on going there again and bringing my friends and family. They will hopefully pass this experience to others and my good deed will multiply many times over my life.