Making Others Happy

Ashley - Walker, Michigan
Entered on September 27, 2005

Age Group: Under 18
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My life’s philosophy lies in a chocolate cake with pink sprinkles.

I remember the first cake that I ever made. It was chocolate, with vanilla frosting and pink sprinkles. I recall these details clearly, even though I was only seven at the time.

Gramma came before the sun came up to assist me in baking a cake for my mom’s twenty-fifth birthday. Since Gramma babysat me and my little sister every Tuesday so Mom could work, we had been planning a surprise “party” for her for weeks. Gramma walked in, smile on her face, with her colossal purse on her shoulder.

Gramma set up a chair next to the counter for me to stand on, and we got started. Cracking the eggs over the bowl, adding the flour, oil and baking powder, we sang “this is the way we make a cake, make a cake, make a cake, this is the way we make a cake, early in the morning.” Gramma handed me the mixer to lick the batter off after she had thoroughly blended the ingredients. We popped that cake in the oven and waited, and when it was done, we decorated it according to my specifications.

Looking back, I realize how inconvenient this little act of kindness really was for Gramma. She lived in Croton, Michigan at the time, which was about an hour away from where we lived. Since Gramma never learned to drive, she had to take a bus to visit us.

Gramma also had arthritis in her wrists that made it hurt to do any sort of perpetual movement, like mixing cake batter. As a child I would have never even thought of her discomfort as she mixed my cake ingredients.

Not once did Gramma complain of how early she had to come to babysit me. Never did I hear her groan about her aching wrists. She was there for me, and only me.

Gramma is my role-model for selflessness. Without her, I wouldn’t know what selflessness looked like.

Selflessness is the act of putting others before oneself. Selflessness is the opposite of selfishness. Selflessness is not caring how fatigued, ill, uncomfortable or bored one is as long as someone else is happy.

Selflessness means not worrying about the time, how much the arthritis is acting up or how early it is, as long as the little girl is having a good time licking the batter and singing the cake song.

My philosophy on life is not complex or lengthy in words. It isn’t a quote by some famous author or a silly cliche that everyone knows and hates to hear. It is one simple word; selflessness. Without selflessness, there can be no good in this world. Every kind act that occurs happens by someone putting others before themselves.

Gramma taught me about my place in this world by helping me to bake my first cake. She taught me that in order to make myself happy, I must first make others happy.