Kristen Schweizer Final Reflection Paper (III) I have learned a lot of things about myself through this experience. I have learned that my life may seem hard and stressful, but it is nothing compared to the lives of the children at the Ronald McDonald House. I mentioned this in my previous papers, but I still think about it all the time. I can at least go to school, find a job, feed myself, and have some form of independence. These children are battling for their lives and I am upset that I got a C on an exam. Yeah, my life really must be horrible! I see this little girl in a wheelchair every time I go to the house. She comes down to eat supper around 4:30 and finishes around 6:00 if she is lucky. It takes her forever to eat and someone has to feed her. She is 14 years old and should be quite capable to feed herself, but a brain tumor took that ability away from her. It is the simple things that I know I take for granted. I never would have thought the ability to feed myself was a privilege. I am so happy that I am able to live a “normal” life. I value life a lot more than I used to. I see hope in these children. Like I said, not like the kind of hope where I hope that I do ok on my chemistry test, or hope I will pass that class. The kind of hope these children have is the kind that says, “I hope I have enough strength to keep living.” I thought my life was hard, but obviously it is nothing compared to the struggle these children face every waking moment, hour, and minute. I feel that I owe these children something. I was lucky enough to live a wonderful life and they might never get that opportunity. The least I can do is show them that I realize I am lucky. If I can give them some joy to brighten their day, I am sure it would mean the world to them. These children didn’t ask to be born with a whole in their heart, a dysfunctional kidney, or a tumor. They never got a chance to see how life is, they had to jump right into a life of constant struggle and that is all they know. Kristen Schweizer From this experience I have realized just how lucky I am to have such a stressful life. No, really, I might complain that I have to study and write a paper but some of these children wish for my life every day. They would love to be sitting in a classroom taking a test, talking to friends, and just living an enjoyable stressful life! I struggle to memorize materials for my tests; they might struggle to tell their brain to put one foot before the other. Some children have to think so hard just to hold a crayon, to say “mom”, or even move a finger. It hurts to see them upset because they can’t accomplish the things that come so easily to me. It is like I want to give them some of my strength just so they don’t have to get upset. But, I can’t and they know that, but that doesn’t stop them from trying again and again. The funny thing is the strength they have to endure and keep trying is stronger than all my strengths put together. Ironically it is them who should be giving me strength. I don’t ever want to hear the words, “My mommy can’t hold my baby brother because he has a hole in his heart,” again. But, those words remind that whatever I may be upset about is nothing. I could say I am tired of studying, but they can say they are tired of struggling! In classes I learn to be independent and rely on myself. I am taught that I am responsible for my self. I know that my problems are and never will be worse than someone else’s problems. So, the next time I get upset because my life is overwhelming, all I have to do it think about the child who is struggling to pick up their crayon, or make a motion. I don’t know how they can pull a smile, but when they do all you can do is smile too. I learned to never take things for granted but, after seeing some of these children, just pictures, I will never take things for granted again. Every step I take is a step that some child somewhere is taking 30 minutes to take. Every breath I take is a breath that some child somewhere is relying on a machine to give them. I want Kristen Schweizer to give something back. They want a life like mine and I want to try to give that to them even if it takes all the energy I have left.