This I Believe

Ross - lakeside, California
Entered on May 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

The county we live in makes it too easy to blame someone else for our faults. Passing on the responsibility of my actions does not allow me to learn from my failures, hampering my future. Making excuses for myself will be a costly mistake.

The legacy my father instilled on me is the value of education. Education does not only occur on the school grounds and in classrooms, but happens everywhere I go. I’ve found my most cherished education occurs from my own poor choices. This education is far more costly than schooling, so I have found it extremely valuable to learn from these choices.

I grew up in a more rural area than my peers. This afforded my parents the luxury of not having to watch us, without the fear of a stranger harming my sister and me. This freedom put much of the responsibility of my own welfare on myself, since play would put large distances between my parents and me.

I recall when I was eight years old and was at an annual Horse Camp, in the Cuyamaca Mountains, for a week. It was for families and there were two major social groups, the children and the adults. I learned that I had to establish my social place in the group, by making mistakes previous years. I was ridiculed for saying the wrong thing or for not being “cool” enough for the other kids. But this year, I was part of the “cool” clique. I put in my time, and worked my way up the social ladder. I had the respect of my peers and felt good that I earned my status.

Another boy, who was new to the group, was a jerk and would tell the parents to stop our questionable fun. His mother interfered and tried to punish me for not being friends with her son. She informed me that I was not acting fairly, but she couldn’t understand that I put in my time and earned the respect of my peers and her son had not.

I learned a lot during my climb up the social ladder. I faced hardships but I feel knowledge is costly, so I don’t waste an opportunity to learn by cheating responsibility. I believe that I am accountable for my own actions.