Small Things Make a Big Difference

Heather - Grandville, Michigan
Entered on May 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: community, place
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I believe a lot of things. I mean, how could a functioning person of society not have some strong personal beliefs? It is these beliefs that have made me who I am. Some people push their beliefs onto others and other people keep their beliefs to themselves because they are just that kind of a person. There are people who share the same beliefs and others who do not. Beliefs range from religious to family and include every aspect of life in between. They are humorous and serious. People’s beliefs make others laugh and cry. Some are so powerful that others may accept them as their own as well. People who pass their beliefs to others are sometimes referred to as “inspirational”. I want to be inspirational to people. It is in an effort to be an inspiration to others that I write this essay.

I am a young 25 year old graduate student whose roots stem from Northern Michigan. I believe people from a small town can have a positive influence on big city residents. Growing up in such a small town was a privilege. It was a privilege because I was able to grow up experience kindness, sincerity and geniality at its best. I moved to Manton, Michigan when I was 8 years old. I was a permanent resident of the small town until August 2001, when I moved to East Lansing to start college at Michigan State. It was at college that I realized small town, slow paced life was different than city living. In bigger cities, no one cares about you or what you are doing. You are another body to get past in a crowd or another car preventing someone from getting through the yellow light at the busy intersection. It was observations such as these that brought me to the conclusion that people in Northern Michigan live life differently than people in bigger cities. Coming from a town where people wave to each other on the streets and in the stores, I was sick of being ignored, so I set out to make myself seen and heard.

Since my time at MSU and presently, I have made it my goal to be an influence on people. I always smile at people and wave if appropriate. It is these efforts that I feel will make a difference in the minds of big city people. If someone lets me over into their lane, I motion a “thank you” with my hands rather than doing nothing at all. When I hold the door for people, I actually turn around to make sure they catch it rather than just assuming they will grab it before it abruptly shuts in their face. Small gestures such as these are ways I am making a positive influence on people from a bigger city.

I do not expect everyone to react to my gestures, but knowing that I am making an effort to bring small town lifestyle to big city living gives me peace of mind when I am out. I know where I came from and I never take it for granted. I am a small town girl who grew up with everyone knowing my business and knowing everyone else’s business. I also grew up in a town where people rolled down their windows to talk if you were at the red light. If you live in a bigger city, I challenge you to bring some small town kindness to your neighborhood.