Greatness and Chracter

Megan - Everett, Washington
Entered on May 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Every day I am surrounded by people who pass me by. It’s like those scenes in movies and commercials where one person is standing in the middle of a crowd and everyone around him is moving in a blur.

I don’t want to be someone who passes by everyone else. I want to be remembered.

I believe that people are remembered not for their political power, wealth, or prestige, but for their character. I believe that what defines a person is not his possessions, but the strength of his character. And I believe that it is a person’s character that makes the biggest impact on the world.

When I think about a person’s strength of character, I am reminded of what Henry Ward Beecher said, “Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength.” When a person displays characteristics that we find good, moral, and humane, despite facing hardships and opposition, he stands out in our mind. When he convince us that, it is due to his character, he gains a level of influence over us. And when a person gains that, he has reached greatness.

Having influence over people doesn’t mean you control that person. You don’t make others do what you want. It means that others will care about what you say and what you think. It means others will want to emulate you. For example, I know that when I walk into a room, if someone is smiling, I will smile. I know that, if someone starts laughing, I will join in. Because I subconsciously recognize a simple joy in that person and that is something to reach for.

The people who have touched me the most are not those that have lots of money or are really popular. The people who touch me are the ones who view life as a joyous experience, who always seek to make the best of things, and who are there for me when I need to cry or vent. These people are so special because they don’t let what the world throws at them get them down.

It is these people who I will remember for the rest of my life. It’s the memories I make with these people that I know I will look back on with fondness and smile at. This is why I believe it is a person’s character that makes them great.