A Time to Be Proud

In my life, I’ve always regretted not being braver or more adventurous. So, the one time that I stepped out of my comfort zone, I was more than proud of myself. It was 2007 and my family had taken a trip to the Amazon Rain Forrest. We had been hiking and exploring the jungle for three days straight. By mid-week I was exhausted, but still excited to experience everything the Amazon had to offer.

Our tour guide had us on a different trail and we went winding through the jungle. At one spot, there was a 30 foot ravine that separated us and the rest of the trail. So, our tour guide found a vine and told us to swing across. I was the last one in line to swing because I kept telling myself I couldn’t do it. Finally, I worked up the courage to take hold of the vine and leap. I convinced myself it would make a great story.

I swung to the other side, but was just out of the reach of the rest of the group. They couldn’t grab me and pull me to safety. So, I swung back out into the middle and stayed there. I was desperately trying to hold on, but already I could feel myself fall. I dropped twenty feet down to the bottom of the ravine. When I opened my eyes I had a hard time breathing, but knew that I was okay. I hadn’t broken anything and I didn’t feel like I had any internal bleeding. 

I may have failed to get to the other side of the ravine, but I still felt like a winner. I had stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new. And for that I was proud.

 

 

Giraffe Hero

I wouldn’t call myself a great person. I don’t even consider myself an exceptional person. I’m just…. well, me. But, as I was reading about a thing called Giraffe Hero’s today, I felt myself relate to a time in my life when I stuck my neck out of the crowd to make a difference.

When I was in eighth grade, there was a kid in my class that I’ll refer to as Gabe. Gabe had trouble socializing and interacting with the other people in our grade. He never fit in and for that reason our classmates were always teasing him and making fun of what he would do. I always felt bad for Gabe because I understood how hard it was to be bullied. He was a nice kid, but no one took the time to get to know him.

One day in history class, I was doing my homework, trying to get everything finished before the weekend. The teacher had left the room for a brief moment and we were left by ourselves. I had a permanent seat next to Gabe because I was the only one in the class that didn’t call him names. I counted the seconds after the door had swung shut behind our teacher, for when the insults would begin.

” Gabe stop staring at the wall and do your work!”

“Why are you so weird Gabe? Stop staring at me!”

”Ewww, Gabe is always staring at people, he’s a pervert.” I could practically feel Gabe quaking next to me as his ears filled with these hurtful words. I couldn’t let myself stay silent any longer and I spoke.

“Guys,” I yelled over the commotion of the growing insults, the room silenced. “Guys, you need to stop. What you’re saying is hurtful. You may not realize this, but Gabe is a person with feelings. With every rude comment you say, it’s like you’re plunging a knife into him. This entire class needs to stop being bullies and get some respect for other people.” With my words out and hanging in the air, I averted my eyes from the many staring at me and resumed my work. I heard a slight “thanks Sarah,” whispered next to me.

No one picked on Gabe in that class again, but his school life was still far from perfect. He may not think much of that day, but knowing that I had the power to make a person’s life better for a single moment, made me never forget.