Character Matters Essay Contest, 3rd Place, Elementary School Division
“Jessica, Jessica” I whispered to my sister while we were at Walmart. “Look at that woman’s nails! They’re soo long,” I whispered. “They could probably reach Antartica!” “He-he-he,” laughed my sister. “Girls,” said my mom. “Stop talking about people,” she scolded. “It’s very rude,” she said.
Two days later at Target.
“Rubye, Rubye,” whispered my sister. “Look at that lady’s hair.” “It’s all green and ugly,” she said. Mom heard what she said.
“Jessica, what did I say about talking about people?” “Sorry,” she apologized. “But that’s what Rubye does!” My mom gave me a stern look. “Do you see where she’s learning this from?” I immediately realized that even at a young age, my character can affect someone else’s character.
Character matters for many reasons. Some of the best character traits are: being kind to people, helping others, and being a superb role model. What makes you a good or bad person depends on how your character is. If you have good character, then you make good choices even if no one is around. If you have bad character, then you do not care to be rude when people are present or not.
One character trait that is essential is being respectful towards people. If you are respectful towards everyone, no matter who they are, they will probably respect you in return. When you respect people, you will judge others by their character instead of their appearance. You will also be tolerant of other cultures and ideas, and open to new things. If you are respectful toward other people, then you could find a variety of friends in life. On the other hand, if you are disrespectful, you could end up a lonely and bitter person. Overall, being respectful is a very important trait to have.
Another trait that is just as significant as respect is being caring and helpful. Whenever anyone has a problem, you should always help them out of the kindness of your heart. This action shows good character. For example, when my friend, Lisa, called me asking for our class spelling word list which she left in her desk, I gave her the spelling list so she could study and complete her homework. It was simple. I didn’t tell her that I would give her the list if she gave me, for example, a dollar. Helping people from your heart is special because God will give you good deeds for it. Assisting someone only for the expectation of getting help or something in return is not a good etiquette nor does it shape good character.
Character especially counts because we are all role models to everyone. As I mentioned before, even if you don’t think that people are looking up to you, they are. When I mentioned the woman with the long nails to my sister, she, too, started gossiping. My mom was not only annoyed with the gossiping, but also upset at me for showing my younger sister a bad example. I now know that even if you don’t have a younger brother or sister, everyone is still a role model. Many role models are famous people such as Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Ghandi, Biddy Mason, and much more. Boycotts against unfair rules, marches against segregation, peaceful protests against injustice, and caring for children and healing the sick, are all examples good character. And you don’t have to be famous or sing songs to be a good role model. You can be a fine role model in your classroom to influence other children. Your classmates will imitate your good qualities and not your bad ones. Being a good role model is very valuable because you yourself will have good character and will influence others to have good character.
Having good character makes you feel good inside and out. You will be a role model, and a respectful, caring, and helpful person. Having these qualities will make you an outstanding citizen.
A month later my family was at the store again.
“Jessica, Jessica! Look at that woman’s--” I stopped.
“What were you going to say?” my sister asked.
“Oh, nevermind.” I replied. “I was going talk about someone to you.”
My mom added, “That’s good that you learned to be a good role model for your sister and you taught yourself not to gossip.” My heart was filled with jubilation.
SO, FOLLOW ME AND ACT TODAY! START BEING AN EXCELLENT ROLE MODEL: BE CARING, HELPFUL AND RESPECTFUL!