"This I Believe": The Power of Giving

Mar 7, 2019

Author: Maya Garringer (Twin Lakes HS)
Credit Rachel Lattimore

Growing up, I had to be reminded to complete my chores, sometimes multiple times, as many children do. As I got older, I realized I should be doing my housework and helping out my parents without being forced to or rewarded. I believe that should be expanded to being a giving person and to helping anyone in your life. I believe that people should be kind and helpful to others even when we are not being praised for it; the best feeling is making someone happy anonymously. Of course being rewarded for doing good is pleasurable, but it is much more gratifying knowing you did it for the right reasons.

One of my first experiences learning to give in secret was in second grade. My mom taught at the elementary school I attended, so I spent a lot of time in that building and grew close to many of the staff members there. The custodian of this small, rural school was an inspirational, hard-working older woman. She taught me to be dedicated in anything I decide to do and how to persevere through hard times. The school was understaffed, so she worked hard all day by herself to keep the school clean to make the students and teachers happy (although I believe she would have worked that much even if she had a choice). Unfortunately, this strong woman had cancer and was predicted to be overcome by it in the next few months or years, yet she still dedicated her life to this school. My sister and I saw how hard she worked and how she

was struggling to work at the same pace as she did before. We came in early and stayed after school to clean the bathrooms, hallways, and some of the classrooms to help her in that hard time. She cried when she noticed that people had been helping her, and she put a hand-written appreciation statement in the office for whoever did it. She did not find out who her “little helpers” were, all she knew is that some kids acknowledged her and wanted to help. I hope that our act of giving back helped her realize that she impacted many people’s lives and served as a role model to many young people. I hope she died feeling loved.

The happiness she got from such a simple act of kindness made me realize that giving is a powerful thing. This can be as simple as writing anonymous notes to people who are lonely or need some encouragement. I have been a part of great clubs/organizations which have allowed me to write letters to people in nursing homes and to struggling students in our school. Also, I

have been a part of church groups where we buy Christmas gifts for kids whose parents cannot afford them. Hearing back from those parents and their stories is life-changing. The most rewarding feeling is knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.  This I believe.