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Kelsey Parks Brown ENGL 1101 November 17 2013 This I Believe Essay I believe in the Dave Matthews quote,

if you give you begin to live. Taken from their song You Might Die Trying, this line can be interpreted in a variety of ways. I have found, however, that both literally and figuratively, this quote is an impeccable explanation for my belief in giving, and the impact it makes on ones quality of life. I believe that the only way to truly appreciate life, and to obtain a satisfying sense of self, is to help others. Giving, whether it is emotionally or physically, is devoting oneself in service of another. It allows one to develop a sense of worth. Participating in giving is the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life. Throughout my life, I have often found myself in a panicked state of mind, feeling hopelessly lost in society. Growing up in a family of eight definitely played a significant role in contributing to this adolescent confusion. I have both, extremely athletic siblings and very studious, academically successful siblings. I never qualified as either of these things, so I seemingly flied under the radar. Some may diagnose this as a blatant case of middle child syndrome, however I always knew this feeling surpassed the surface of being outshined by my siblings. It wasnt until I got involved in several different volunteer opportunities that I discovered my true passion, giving. Giving, or volunteering, often tested my moral compass, but most importantly it taught me how to value both, others and myself. Apart from my

family, my surroundings have been a huge influence in developing this belief. I was born and raised in an affluent, suburban neighborhood, in New Jersey, where my classmates and I were referred to as the rich kids in surrounding towns. My parents always taught me to stay grounded but nonetheless, I still lived in a keeping up with the Joneses environment. Although I knew better, I repeatedly bought in to the hubbub of owning the next big thing. It took giving for me to understand that these materialistic items are not of any true value. That true value comes in bettering the life of another. The belief of giving is centered in relationship. It is not a tangible object, nor a specific place. Rather, a pure and beautiful form of generosity. It can be found in giving emotional support to a friend in distress, or giving a meal to homeless, or anything in between. In our modern society, there is a common misconception that happiness derives from accumulating as much monetary value as possible; that the more you give away the less you have to enjoy. To counteract this delusion, my belief reveals the truth; the more you give away, the more you receive something back of greater value. Tim Keller of the Generous Giving organization once said, If you spend your money on yourself you are just surviving. But if you want your life to count, if you want to really live-give. The term giving provides endless meanings and examples, all focused on a significant relationship between the giver and the receiver. This relationship can be that of a stranger, an acquaintance, a family member, etc. This has set up my belief because it taught me an important prerequisite of giving, that it comes in all forms and sizes.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. A simple and direct quote from Winston Churchill, this saying is an exact portrayal of my belief. The belief of giving is manifested in my daily life through simply giving those I encounter words of kindness and optimism. It is easy to get lost in your own thoughts and actions. Seeing we live our daily lives solving the problems that directly affect us, it can be hard to remain selfless. However if we each took a minute to give a friend words of encouragement, or give a stranger a helping hand, our daily lives would be immensely impacted. After all, giving back reminds us of how lucky we are. My belief about the prominence of giving has been challenged a couple times, mostly while I was still developing it. One specific example can be found during the peak of my discovery. I was volunteering at a local food pantry when I encountered a dilemma that left me feeling uneasy. I was assigned a position on the food assembly line, with a simple job of distributing food to the homeless. After just a few minutes, one of the homeless men started to partake in a loud, public disturbance. He screamed and fussed, complaining that the food being served did not comply with his particular standards. As a witness to the commotion, I was confused and utterly disgusted. I felt taken advantage of, here I was volunteering my time to better their life, and they were simply unappreciative. It wasnt until I established a better grasp on my belief that I realized this situation was incompetent in relation to the greater good of giving. John Dodig, a Connecticut high schools principal, stated Being a good person is what defines you in the eyes of others, and most importantly, in your own

eyes. You will be faced with choices, small and big, that can change your life and also affect others lives. Reach out to help those in need. In my opinion, my belief will not change over time. It is simple, it is broad, it is truthful; and it can make all the difference. If you give you begin to live.