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Emily Scherl – “This I Believe” Winning Essay

The small bracelets my friend once made me have been with me through a lot of things
and they will go through a lot more with me. They seem like something small but it is like a
piece of them comes with me wherever I go. Even though these bracelets are nothing more
than some string and beads, putting them on every morning reminds me that there is
someone who cares for me. I believe that the little things go a longer way than we will ever
acknowledge. Only once the small acts add up into the big things do we seem to notice them.
We notice them even more when they are gone, even if it is just for a little while.

Something small that keeps me going is talking with my friends. Whether we are talking
about something super serious or just telling stupid stories, it is something I constantly look
forward. Every weekend I go walking with my friends and I love it. Over quarantine, I was not
able to do that. I missed my friends so much, even more than school and being able to go
outside without masks. I would spend hours calling and talking to friends to make up for the
time I could not spend with them. An action even smaller than simple conversations would be
basic human decency. Anyone who treats me kindly and respectfully makes me happy. It could
literally be anything, even just someone complimenting my outfit, can make my day.
Especially with my declining mental health, it is the small things that get me through the days.
Even though big acts of kindness are important, simple things are the ones that make us want
to pass it on.

Once the small things add up, you can see how much better life is with them. Doing
little things for the people you care about will improve not only their day but your day as well.
I had a friend who used to bring in these delicious crackers for all of us at lunch and they
always made me feel better, particularly if I was having a bad day. Something as small as a
snack can have a big impact on the people around you. Now every time I pack my lunch, I
throw some extra food into my lunch box in case one of my friends forgot food. The little
things stick with us and add up to make us who we are.

The same is true for malicious acts. Little backhanded compliments or just straight up
insults can put a damper on someone’s day. Doing something that makes you happy, only to
be shot down by someone sabotages your good feeling. This sticks with us for longer than it
should, reminding us of shortcomings we didn’t even know we had. Some people find their
worth in the people around them so instead of getting rid of someone who is being rude or
mean-spirited, they stop doing what makes them happy and change to be what someone else
thinks they should be. Something as small as an almost funny cruel joke that goes too far can
damage someone’s self esteem and self worth for a while.

It’s the details that make life so beautiful. It’s everything from the sun rise painting the
clouds a beautiful pink to a kind smile from a stranger that keeps everything going. The
actions that add up define our experiences. I believe that in a world so fueled by hatred and
greed, we all need to take some time to show a little kindness to the people around us.

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