Samara Abrams

I have seen many senior speeches in my 6 years at RHP. I’ve seen people tell all kinds of stories of culture shock and overcoming hardships. I have seen people rap their senior speeches, or deliver them wearing a hat that looked like a slice of cheese. I feel like I’ve seen and heard it all. So, instead of telling my own story, I’ll tell one that my mother read to me when I was in first grade.

The story begins with a man, his wife, and six children. They all lived together in a tiny one room hut. It was noisy, dirty, and cramped. Unable to take it any longer, the man went to the town’s rabbi and asked him for advice. The rabbi thought for a moment, before telling the man: “Take your goat into your house and have it live with you.” The man was skeptical, but did as the rabbi asked. To the shock of nobody, things only became worse inside the hut. The man came back to the rabbi and asked what he should do this time, and the rabbi simply said: “Bring your cow into your house and have it live with you.” The results were predictable. Things only became more crowded, noisy, and smelly. The man came back to the rabbi a third time, clearly unhappy, and the rabbi told him to bring in his chickens this time. By this point, the man wondered if the rabbi was out of his mind. Things became even more awful, until the man couldn’t stand it any longer. He stormed back to the rabbi, and told him how things had become even worse. The old rabbi, with a smile, finally told the man to take the animals out of the hut and put them back in the barn. The man gladly did so, and the hut felt clean, quiet, and spacious. He and his family never complained about their house again.

The title of this story was “It Could Always Be Worse.” This is something that I have since applied to my life. If things are bad, I should be grateful that they aren’t even worse than they could be. I have an hour’s worth of homework and I don’t want to do it? At least I don’t have two. I’m in a pandemic? At least I’m not sick, and I am doing everything I can to keep myself and my family healthy. And if all else fails, I think of my personal favorite: At least I’m not on fire right now. This mindset helps me to be grateful for everything that I have. I am surrounded by people that care about me, accept me for who I am, and want to help me learn and grow. As I take the next step of my life in college, I will be surrounded by unfamiliar people, a new campus, and much harsher weather. But I know that I’ll be lucky to be there. I might think things are awful, but I can stop myself, and remember that it could always be worse.