This I Believe

madeline - chicago, Illinois
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: gratitude

My dad has always told me that gratitude is one of the most important traits a person can have, especially when you have a great deal to be grateful for. Anytime I get upset over material things, I remember to stop and think about people on the other side of the world, who are grateful when they get one meal a day.

It seems so stupid when people get upset about petty possessions. One of my cousins got upset when their parents got them the wrong car. My mom and I were discussing this one day. Thousands of families Chicago alone don’t have the money to afford cars, let alone complain that they got the wrong car.

I have so much to be grateful for. I live in a house. My parents are happily married. They have jobs. We live comfortably and always have food on the table. Plus, I have tons of things I don’t even need, like a cell phone, mp3 player, and laptop. When I think of people all over the world that don’t even have new clothes to change into every day, I feel bad for them, but especially appreciative of all that I have.

It aggravates me when people are petty about material belongings that aren’t necessary. Celebrities don’t need $6 million dollar houses full of rooms they don’t even use. Why not buy a $2 million dollar house, and donate some money to charities all around the world?

One of the most important things I’m appreciative of is that I don’t live in a society absorbed in civil war, hunger, or massive governmental disputes. So many countries now are involved in massive problems such as: government coups, genocide, and wars. Millions of people all over the world have no more than a bowl of rice to eat every day, if anything. Imagine if the United States was in a war which put us in danger. Imagine if your neighborhood was a battlefield.

I’m grateful that I live in the United States legally, and so does everyone in my family. Whenever I think about how intense my life is, I need to remember that there are so many people living in this countries without all the privileges I have, and they make it through the day. I need to use that as inspiration for when I’m feeling ungrateful.

Without gratitude, one will never be happy. You can be the richest person in the world, and if you have no gratitude, life will be totally pointless, because you’ll always want more. I believe that gratefulness should be a trait that all privileged people carry.