During the forum in Korea I encountered a situation, when we had lunch but had to hurry to the next program. Some of us haven’t finished our food yet. A girl, from developing country, still had her plate full of food, but she had to go to the program, so she had no choice but give up on it. She held her plate and asked people from developed country:
“I won’t be punished for throwing this away right?”
“Don’t worry, it’s just one time. And you didn’t mean it.” – the others said.
“Yes, but you know, we don’t have enough food in our country, but here you have a lot, but you just throw it away so easily.” – she said in disbelief, but she didn’t create a tense atmosphere. The others also symphatize with her.
That small conversation hit me so hard. I realized we tend to take things we have everyday for granted. But in reality it’s not natural that we have them. Someone, for example our parents, had to work hard so we can have them. Let’s say food. How many times do you buy more food than you can eat in restaurant, just to end up leaving half of it on the plate? Or how many times do you do shopping, buy a lot of food since they are on sale, bring it home and the next time you look at it again, it’s already rotten?
The same with water. How many times we leave the tap open while washing our teeth? Or how many times we buy bottle of water and then forget to drink it?
We think it’s natural to have food and water everyday, every minutes, so we give ourselves permission to waste it, since we will have another one anyway. But have you ever thought about people who had to exchange their hard work for your well-being? And have you thought that there are people who are fighting to have a glass of clean water a day? Or a piece of bread after few days of being hungry? Because they do exist.
Even before I could only say we shouldn’t waste food since there are people who have nothing to eat. But I never met anyone living in the same situation. This time since I stayed with 180 people from 52 countries from all over the world in Korea, I met people from developing country, and their situation really hit me. It strengthen the fact that I really shouldn’t waste anything. Because it’s not natural that I have a food to eat, a water to drink, a house to live in, school to study at and parents.
So after I heard what the girl said, I’m training myself to appreciate things more and waste less. If I don’t need something I don’t buy it no matter how cheap it is. Let it be food, clothes, shampoo… etc. I stop complaining about the country and house I’m living in. I’m trying not to complain about university I’m studying at. This is the hardest part, but I have to acknowledge that not everyone can go to university. Not because they are not clever, but because of their financial situation. I’m working on appreciating my parents more since they are the one who give me all the things I have now.
These are not easy things to do. Since we only see how hard our own life is. How people around us annoy us. How boring the school is. How our workplace don’t give us enough opportunity.. etc. But do we think about how other people who are less fortunate might feel?
No matter how much they want to study, they can’t due to the situation in their country or due to their own situation. But we, who have more than enough opportunity to gain knowledge and create something valuable for our surroundings, we look down on education. In reality that is the best investment into ourselves and for our wealth. Because that’s a value no one can take away from us.
I do admit that even I complain a lot about school. And this is the reason I’m writing this post to remind myself I’m lucky. Instead of complaining about how hard it is, I should appreciate it and do my best in it.
The same with our parents. How many times have you got annoyed or shout at your parents because they don’t do what you want? But have we ever thought of those who grew up with only one parents or maybe in an orphanage? It’s also not natural to live with both of your parents. It’s a luck to have them. So when you realize you want to shout at your dad or mom, just take a deep breath and tell them calmly. Before you go somewhere far, give them a hug.
I don’t write this post to point out how bad we are, but I hope we can all think about our every day habit, action and change them into positive direction. Everything we have is not natural. Someone has worked hard to create it for us. And we are lucky enough to have them. However, not everyone is as lucky as us. Some of them still have to fight to acquire it. So instead of taking anything for granted, for example food, education, house, our parents, let’s learn to appreciate and value them.