Be the hope...

Recently, I have been reading various stories about different people going through some tough times in the world, while many people like myself are having relatively easier times and fewer personal challenges. However, if we just commit doing even a smaller help for those who are in need, a lot of things can change dramatically for everyone’s lives. We are living in a technology-driven world, and even charities have websites where we can easily and quickly donate money or other things. The only obstacle in our path towards helping others is ourselves. Help comes in a variety of flavors. Sometimes, it is just showing that we are there for those who need help. Sometimes, it is just listening to those who need some encouragement and sometimes a just friendly pat on the back and showing that we are together on this.

Helping is not hard. What’s hard is to break out of our selfish thoughts and desires. We can spend hours to watch movies or playing a video game. In fact, we can spend many hours doing what we love doing. So, yes… We have time for helping. In fact, we can still do what we love to do and help others with what we are good at. I realized this fact when I was upset seeing less fortunate people. In fact, I was born and raised in an impoverished part of the country in Turkey. My father had to go to other countries to work and make money for our family. I remember not seeing him for a year or more many times. What I am thankful most for my parents is that they worked so hard to make sure that I and my siblings got a proper education. It is hard when you are not even in the middle-class family category. Even small town stores had accounting notepad in which the owners kept a record of who bought what so that these families could pay their debt when they got their paycheck, and yes we were one of them, and I remember how hard it was to give my notepad to the owner so that he could record what I bought while next to other kids paying in cash. I remember my father’s smile when he bought a relatively fancy coat for me with a payment plan for months from a friend of his. I remember my mother fighting a school principal to get some discount so that I could go to a private school because the public schools were the worst. A good man from Germany paid my private school tuition. He was a friend my dad made when he was working in Germany. I worked so hard to not let my parents down, so I graduated with 4.98 (out of 5) from the high school. And believe me, it was way much harder to get that score than most of the high schools in the United States. I don’t remember how many books I finished, and how many questions I solved. But I remember studying 5 AM to 12 PM. I did not have any social life. I did not have one of those fancy game consoles. I had my mechanical pencil – I still love pencils :) – and my textbooks. Perhaps, for the person who paid my tuition, the money was not big of a problem, but it was definitely for us. His help changed my life forever. I still don’t know him; I never met him, but I was told that he was happy when he saw my success and my report card at the end of the each year for three years of my high school. Our school was a competitive place, and my hard works started paying. I was in the top 3 most of the time in the school-wide tests considering how much students should study to get accepted to a university in Turkey.

I have been there… I know what it means less fortunate. I know how it is like being hungry when your friends in the middle school were buying fancy food. My parents taught us to be modest. We did not accept anything from other people unless we pay it back. The first and the possibly the only time I accepted something was that my father got a life-threating accident while he was going to Switzerland to work to make some money. The impact of the accident was so bad, everyone including doctors thought that he was going to die, but he lived… I was in the 5th grade at that time, but my vice school principal in the school called me to his room. They gave me a coat. I just cannot forget it. It was winter, so I wore it quickly. That coat may not have changed much in the life of the giver, but changed a lot in my life back then. Life teaches you a lot. The experiences make us who we are. I tried never to forget the help I have been given because it was those small things that pushed me to who I am now.

All these experiences pushed me to work harder. In the university, while I was studying my classes, I was also working as a freelance web developer. I was making enough money to share with my family. Whenever I saw someone less fortunate in the streets, I could not help myself but went next to them and shared some of my money. It was my way of saying not to worry, there are still good people in the world, and I have met some of them in my life…

I love my job. I code every day. I learn new ways of accomplishing my job every day. And, I am doing it with another thought in mind: Not letting down those who need me. My family, my friends, and others who don’t know my name but get some relief with the money I donate in various means. I believe we all should be strong and be ready when help is needed. Therefore, we should do what we do at best. Sometimes, it is your attitude towards growing both personally and professionally that motivate others around you. They see an example in you. As I said, help comes in various ways, and you being hard-working that helps other to walk towards their dreams as well. I have experienced that setting an example by actually doing it way more effective than just telling it. In fact, most of the time, you don’t need to tell anything, it is your actions that people look at and listen to, not your words. So, be their hope, not their nightmares…

Many people get demotivated when they are in a situation like if they fail, no one will be there helping them get up. Therefore, if we need to establish a successful society, the members of it need to know that they are sincerely there for one another when they fail and get demotivated. Sometimes, people just want to your smile, your helping hand, your ears, not your words of encouragement. People are marvelous creatures and if they put something in their mind to accomplish, they find a way to do it. But, we are also weak alone. We are living in an interconnected world, and you can easily see that someone from France can help those who are in need in Utah or vice versa. This interconnectedness enables us to find a type of help that we can provide. We may not be rich, but it should not prevent us from helping others. We may be great at drawing, so perhaps as small painting can help someone out there. We are now able to send money in seconds to someone in need. Can we not do anything? Then, we can at least share some of the tears someone is shedding in the other part of the world.

Let’s be the best at what we are doing and be the hope for the less fortunate… You never know whose life you are changing…

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