This I Believe

Eric - Ogden, Utah
Entered on December 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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This I believe

My Grandfather gave me some advice before he passed away. “Eric,” he said, “Be careful in the friends you choose.” I follow this advice because good friends make you a better person. I was fortunate to meet several quality friends in my early teen years. Those friends have helped shape my character for the last 14 years. Aaron was once only the kid brother of one of my friends. He always wanted to be around us, and it took me a long time to accept him. But he had chosen me as a friend, and I’m grateful I listened.

When we were older, but still youths, I remember a service project at a local recreation park. The parking lots had become littered both with weeds in the planters, and with trash from the patrons. There were 16 boys there, all with trash bags, working their way through the parking lots. Aaron and I were working near each other, when I noticed he had filled more trash bags than I. So I worked harder. As I was pulling ahead, he noticed that I had picked up the pace and redoubled his efforts. This unspoken competition led us to fill more bags between then two of us than the rest of the group put together. We were tired, sore, and happy. What added the most joy to the experience was the fact that we had shared it. We had accomplished something exemplary. I realized that I place value on my own hard work with or without recognition.

This is always the story between us, building each other up by example. Others have seen our friendship and positive influence on each other and want to be around us. Our circle of high quality friends keeps expanding, and more positive influences continue to enter our lives.

My friends help me be a better person. This I believe.