Power of the People

Leah - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 13, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

So you know that time when that one girl gave you a compliment or the person in line in front of you genuinely said “Thank you, have a nice day” to the cashier? And you know how you still remember those instances even though they happened years ago? Even though you have no idea who they are or even remember what they look like, there is always someone who said something or did something that you will always remember, good or bad. I sincerely believe that one person can have a powerful effect on another. The little, everyday things can change a person’s life. A simple action of kindness or anger can have a dramatic impact. I still remember sophomore year Spanish class when one boy said something meant as a joke to some girl and how she responded with “Why are you always being so mean to me?” The whole class quieted down, and that moment helped me to realize that even things said in jest can bite. It wasn’t some significant event in my life, but I still remember it and am reminded of it, especially after I say something sarcastic and see that hurt look instead of the smile I expected. And I think about how awful I feel after saying something that was meant to be funny but ended up being hurtful, and I don’t really like to think about how I made the person feel.

Almost everything a person does comes from how other people act toward him or her, whether it is to feel accepted or to stand out or it’s just simply a natural reaction. A smile on a day when you’re feeling down that makes you feel like you’re not alone in the world. And how on days when there seems to be no decency left you remember that smile. That mean remark on that day when you just can’t take it anymore and it makes your awful day even worse and how it pushed you over the edge, so you pushed your kids. I still remember how my eighth grade algebra teacher told my class about a time when she smiled at someone leaving the grocery store and how the man had such a strong reaction to it. I always remember that story and how a small action on my part can make or break a person’s day. Maybe a small action could even change someone’s life. Every single person is connected to every other person. So every action and every word, someone else will be impacted by it, whether you know it or not. I believe in the power of people.