Hometown: Oxford, GA
High School: George Walton Academy
This essay was my first college assignment; however it was more than just a grade. I had to search myself for my own personal credo and take a step towards firmly establishing my identity. This I believe.
My father is my greatest mentor. He taught me how to talk, to walk, to tie my shoes, to throw a football, shoot a basketball. He challenged me to think critically, love unconditionally, and conduct myself in a way that reflects the qualities of a true gentleman. However, his most powerful message came from one simple action: holding the door open. My dad exudes compassion, so it never surprised me when he would hold the door for people as we entered a store, or left the post office, or anywhere else. But as I stepped into the unbelievable maturity and wisdom found in adolescence, I began to see that he wasn’t merely kind to friends and coworkers, family and acquaintances. He wouldn’t just hold the door open for those he knew; he would stand at the door for much longer than was adequately amiable, often to his inconvenience, maintaining a smile all the while. Flabbergasted. The only appropriate word. I couldn’t wrap my head around why someone would seemingly waste his or her time just to act as a door stop. And that is when I began to look at everyone walking through the door. For one moment, just a single second, an expression of unrestrained gratitude would flash across these stranger’s faces. Their eyes would light up, their shoulders would slightly relax, and a connection was made. By one simple act, my dad was able to lighten another person’s load, even if it was only minimally. That desire to help others regardless of reward or thanks sparked in me a passion for serving others in any way possible. I began to seek opportunities to serve: taking my friend’s lunch trays in the cafeteria, loaning out pens and pencils (knowing I wouldn’t get them back), giving the “wassup” nod to the kid that doesn’t even know what it means, holding the door open as I entered or exited a building. These small acts gave me a taste of the human connection, offering me no choice but to believe in the power service. To believe in holding the door open.