The thought of making a difference first hit me when I was 16. Before that, I was a bit numb. I do not really remember thinking about others much. I was in a world of my own, trying to survive the troubles of the day, schooling and fighting with my parents. You know, those regular things teens go though and consider the end of the world.
When I was 16, I became a very good student and experienced success and comfort. Suddenly, I realized there were others around me who were much less fortunate. It was funny how four months in my life had changed my perception so much. In 10th Grade, everything was tough, I thought my life was horrible and I did not manage very well. I envied everyone around me, convinced their lives were easy and fun.
But in 11th Grade, a month after school started, everything changed. I realized I was a very lucky girl. I started writing poetry, joined the junior school council and was even chosen to be one of the teens going to Egypt as the first youth delegation after the peace treaty was signed between Israel and Egypt.
From a needy student with lots of problem, I became a leader and organized many events to bring people together and help those with fewer friends and lower academic abilities. Because I had been on the other side, it was easy for me to understand those who did not succeed.
In my Year Book, I wrote I would like to be a journalist and my favorite song was “Imagine” by John Lennon. I had John Lennon’s song posted on the door of my wardrobe and I thought that one day I would make it a reality.
My poetry was in protest of injustice and in search of love. From there, going to study Special Education was a natural progression. Evidently, making a difference was a major value for me.
Everything was clear until I got some exposure to Buddhism. That made the ideas of “change” and “making a difference” seem somewhat problematic. Why change? Why not accept what is and let go of the desire to change? But later, as I grew, I understood that acceptance does not mean compromise and that kindness is still the key to making a difference and making this world a better place.
It is funny how things turn out.