A simple task that taught me a profound lesson

Essay by lynnea May 2009

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Back when I was around twelve, my class received a new student – a new class-mate. He was called Daniel. The first time I saw him, I remembered wondering why his eyes were they way they were. The teacher could be talking to him, but his eyes were looking in every other direction. It was not till the teacher introduced us to him, that I realized my new class-mate was blind.

Being the class monitor, I was assigned to help Daniel around. I was to show him around and help make sure that none of the boys bullied him. At that time, I thought nothing about this task, as my teacher had always assigned me to help new students get around. Little did I know how meaningful this task would be.

The first day I spent with Daniel was an interesting one. We got to know each other. Although blind, Daniel seemed to be a really happy boy.

He often smiled and cracked jokes. I had never met a blind person before then, so I thought that this would be a really interesting opportunity. The first day really gave me insight into a blind man’s life.

As the days went by, I got to know Daniel better and better. He was a funny, bright and polite student. He was a really talented artist. I had never met anyone as talented as him, and everyone was amazed by his artistic talents. It was obvious that Daniel really wanted to be like us, normal kids. It was really a pity he could not. Despite all the differences and difficulties, Daniel tried to make the best of everything he did. He always gave a hundred percent to whatever he did. His presence really brought light to our lives, and being in his presence taught us never to take things for granted.

It was not till the day that Daniel did not show up in school that we learnt that Daniel had eye cancer. Cancer had taken away his sight, bit by bit, until nothing was left. All that while in school, he was fighting cancer, and I had no clue. After a long speech, our teacher finally broke the news to us. Daniel was dead. But he had died fulfilling his last wish, which was to attend a public school, with normal kids like us, and, to be treated normally. We were stunned. The boy, who brought us joy, was gone, forever.

My encounter with Daniel was a really meaningful one. It taught me all sorts of things. But the greatest lesson I learnt was never to take things for granted, however insignificant they may seem. I had never imagined that my simple task could teach me such a profound lesson.

Meeting Daniel really woke me up from the selfish, taken for-granted life that I once led. I’ve learnt to treasure things, and do the best in everything I do.