School starts back on Tuesday the fifth after a too-short Christmas break. I already am dreading the thought of returning to the class room. Getting up early, studying for tests in every class, stressing out about my future, keeping a tight schedule with no free time... that just isn't my cup of tea, figuratively speaking.
Guilty for my bitter thoughts, I keep telling myself that there are children all over the world who long to go to school. And there are children all over the world who get up at three or four in the morning to walk hours in the darkness, through the dangerous streets, to go to a school with no electricity, dirt floors, and a low-standard education. And yet they are thankful that they have the privilege of going to school.
When I think of this, I feel guilty that I dislike school. I try to enjoy it for the sake of the children who don't have the same opportunities that I do. In a way, I feel like if I make the most of my education, and strive in the best way that I can to make the best of my life, then maybe I can pay it forward and provide a better world for those who never got the same chances as I did. That's why I started sponsoring a child in Africa with my allowance when I was in my freshman year of high school. The thought that I could provide another human being, another child, with everything I have that I take for granted (and shouldn't take for granted), was something that I couldn't pass up. It brought me down to earth just a little bit, and gave me a reality check about how blessed I truly am. Children are starving to death all over the world, dying of treatable diseases, and not getting even the most meager of educations that could bring them out of their poverty.
I read somewhere that the United States has the 19th highest literacy rate in the world (which is ridiculous in its own way, because with our resources, we should be at the top of the list) at 99.0 percent, which means that our youth today should not have an issue going to college, furthering our education, and then using our gained skills and knowledge to change our world for the better. Burkina Faso has a literacy rate of 23.6%. Mali has a literacy rate of 24.0%. What are we doing about this?
As the year of 2010 dawns today on January first, I challenge you to make a difference. Erase all signs of apathy from your life. Be that person you thought you could never be.
Stand up with me and do your best this year and from now on to make the world a better place.