Putting Others Before Yourself

Katherine - LaGrange, IL
Entered on September 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in putting others before yourself. I have always thought I understood how to do that, but I really learned how to do that this summer at Honey Rock Camp. I was there for six weeks, the first two weeks were exhausting, and the next two were even more. My third week there I went to Minneapolis to do service. Half of the group did work around the community, while the other half, which included me worked with children. Our motto for that week was, “it’s not about us,” and just in that one week of service I realized how to live that out.

I had originally signed up to work at the day-camp run out of the church, but at the last minute the Salvation Army called and requested for nine campers to help with their daycare program, and I was one of the nine to be chosen.

It was hard working with those children, none of them spoke good English and there were some who didn’t speak English at all! But for some reason, that didn’t matter. They were all just so happy to be with us, that you couldn’t help just loving them, and you don’t need to speak the same language to express that.

Everyday our group would take the children to a different pool. One day I spent no joke; 5 hours with the same 3 little kids treating me like a jungle gym. After about the first hour, I was ready to collapse. After lunch I took a rest, I was finally dry so I declared I was not going back into the water. I was sitting with some friends and we weren’t really paying attention to the kids. But then, one of the little boys came up to me and asked me play in the water, I really wanted to say no but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. When one of my friends reminded me that I said I didn’t want to get back into the water, it hit me. I told him, “It’s not about us,” and then gave the little boy his millionth piggyback ride of the day.

It was in that moment that I realized I wasn’t there to sit around and hangout with my friends, I was there to show these children love and take care of them. It really wasn’t about me. Even though at the end of everyday I was exhausted, it was one of the happiest weeks I’ve ever had. For me, when I can make other people’s lives easier, I find that so much more fulfilling than helping myself. I feel that the motto “It’s not about us” didn’t just apply to that one week, but it’s one that I try live my life by.