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I honestly can relate to both statements. We as individuals should be able to become self-sustaining, and able to take care of ourselves. We have a responsibility to ourselves to be the best we can be, and rely on our own instincts and abilities to achieve our goals. That being said, I also think that it is very important to realize that there at times will be people who need to be able to lean on someone for help. So I feel that both statements are accurate for a number of people.

I grew up in a very small town, with less than 500 people at the time I moved here with my family, to less than 300 today. It is one of those places where “everyone knows everybody”. I grew up in this town with my brothers. We played all over, with our family and friends. Neighbors knew who we were and would keep an eye on us kids just in case we got into trouble or just needed help. We went to school and church locally. Our community was and is instilled in us. I have always been a big believer in giving back to the community. There are some people that when they hear that think “oh no, they’re coming for our checkbook again”. If you can afford to do it, monetary donations are an awesome way to help out the community. Fund-raisers happen all the time for very good reasons. But there are so many other ways to give back to our community. It costs nothing to donate our time. It is a great feeling helping a neighbor out that need a helping hand because they are unable to do things for themselves, such as yard work or painting the house. We could cook dinner for a neighbor that might be sick or for the family that just lost a loved one. Taking time to volunteer is a valuable thing to any community. You could volunteer to coach the local little leaguers, or volunteer to help out at church by helping to feed the hungry, or bringing someone to church that could not get there on their own. Anything and everything to help keep our communities clean, safe and beautiful for all of its members is a great thing.  One even my town has annually is a community fund-raiser to help support our two cemeteries, which are marked as historical sites. Many neighbors, friends, and family members are buried there. Our town has a community reunion and picnic every year to help raise money to help maintain these cemeteries, but they also ask for our time. It’s a great day to catch up with everyone and we all take some time to do whatever needs to be done to keep our cemeteries looking nice and honoring the loved ones we have lost. It is such a small chunk of our time that makes a big difference in our community.Anytime we are given the opportunity to help someone in need we should not pass the chance, because we never know at what point the one in need might be ourselves. The bible teaches us that we are to “love our neighbors as ourselves” (Mark 12:31) and to “treat others as you would have them treat you” (Matthew 7:12). I just think that helping out and giving back is the right thing to do. None of us get where we are without some help along the way from someone, and it is always a good idea to pay it forward.

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