Del BeneAs humans, we feel a natural obligation to help those in need. Whether it’s as simple as a hug on a bad day or spending hours on the phone with a friend, we will do whatever we can to make the people we care about most happy.

During the holiday season, my dance team and I traveled to a number of senior homes to dance for the residents. At the end of each show, we all passed out one or two ornaments. As I was looking around at the smiling faces, my eye was drawn to one man sitting in the second row. Since he hadn’t been given an ornament yet, I thought I would give mine to him.

I will never forget the moment he said “thank you” to me. It wasn’t necessarily what he said. It was the look of happiness, pain, joy and longing he had in his eyes.

When it comes to more complex and controversial situations, it seems as if humans become more apathetic toward the things around us.

About a month ago, in the law class I’m taking, the topic of poverty and how it affects education systems was the subject of discussion. Looking at the alarming statistics and pictures from a slideshow played on the projector, it was challenging trying to put my thoughts into words. Many students spoke about how living in an area with severe poverty with a poor education system is somewhat of a lifestyle choice.

It seemed so easy for some to put together opinions and statements on something they knew little of. It was challenging, personally, to comprehend the thought of ever being in such disparity and poverty, let alone to make a statement on a subject that is more powerful and detrimental than some can understand.

In no way do I think any student’s reaction came out of excessive selfishness, but rather not understanding exactly what kind of impact these things have on people. That’s because of how foreign those situations are to us.

The best thing that could be done is to genuinely understand and think about what we say or do, especially before making a judgment or statement.

It is clear that people would become more conscious and aware of what goes on around them if they were to spend a day walking in someone else’s shoes. As they say, it is one thing to think about a situation, and it is another to experience it.

Jacqueline Del Bene is a sophomore at West Linn High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Tidings this school year.

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