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This week as the country marks the 32nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, The Pilot cedes its editorial space to this essay by Danielle Beck of Plymouth. Beck, a junior at Sacred Heart High School in Kingston, read her essay at the Massachusetts Citizens for Life annual Interfaith Assembly for Life at Faneuil Hall Jan. 16. Beck and her generation present the best hope for a future in which all human life is respected.
I decided that first off I would tell you a little about myself. Hi, I’m Danielle Beck. I live in Plymouth, and I go to the same Catholic school that I’ve gone to since kindergarten. I am very involved in theater and speech and debate. I love working with kids and I am very religious. I have always been pro-life and I have prayed harder this week on what to say to everyone, I think harder than I’ve ever prayed in my life. I am incredibly nervous.
I want to talk to you today about the importance of life, and I want to urge you to continue paving the road for my generation, so that I may be able to walk and pave for the generations after me.
I was on the phone with Mrs. Sturgis and she said something that stayed with me. She said I was the future, which made me think about how I can do something for the generations in front of me. Passing on pro-life values and beliefs is not only priceless, but desperately needed. As we all know, society can be a cruel place. This year, the importance of life and the reality of abortion hit close to home. There are many girls, even girls my age who have aborted life, and I can’t help but wonder, if pro-life had been emphasized a little more, whether or not they would have changed their minds.
I go to a small Catholic school, Sacred Heart, in Kingston, Massachusetts. Pro-life is something present in all of our classes. In biology, we have learned about the fetus, some say that it isn’t a real life yet, but after about a week it’s a living breathing entity. Student council sponsored a baby drive this year before Christmas. We donated diapers, formula and other items to a shelter for single mothers. There are posters and quotes in the hall about life, and its beauty. I have had many class discussions on abortion in my English classes. Some students can strengthen their beliefs and share them through our debate team. These little things count. They are constant reminders to the students of the choices they make. And I am asking you, even though it does get hard, to continue to reassure my generation that life is the right choice. Little things can make a big difference.
I have always seen life as an important thing. It is delicate yet strong. Humans can endure more emotional pain than any other living thing. Some say that the silk from a spider’s web is the strongest material on the earth. I look at life like silk on a spider’s web. It looks delicate but to a tiny spider it is steel. And then some unseen force takes it all away. Scientists have created a material now that they claim is just as strong, if not stronger than spider silk. We tend to play God a lot. And no one has the right to murder God’s creations.
Being politically correct is seemingly important to many people. They say that having the right to a choice is the most important thing. That choice is right. Murder in my world, is not politically correct. And yet, I see so many from my generation catching onto the politically correct fad. And they need your reassurance. Because what will happen to the generations that come after mine? Will there be generations after mine? It is a scary question to ask, but it’s true. With science advancing and population and the ill-politically correct disease spreading, it seems impossible to change the world. But one person at a time will make a difference.
I teach a 5th grade CCD class. Before my first day my mom told me that if I could reach just one child then that was all that mattered. I remember being more than incredibly nervous, thinking, “Oh God, help me reach more than just one. When I signed up I though it’d be easy, and now I might not be able to reach any?” I am almost positive that I am reaching more than half the class, and I am pleasantly surprised. Whether you reach one child, or 12, or 12,000, it doesn’t matter. The effort is what is important.
I have learned a lot from kids. The summer after my freshmen year I volunteered at a small preschool for challenged kids. I worked with autistic children from the ages of 3 to 5. Working with 5th graders and preschoolers, and children in general, have taught me the beauty and importance of life. For three weeks I read “The Hungry Caterpillar” to a teeny, giggling, tubby boy named Henry. Henry taught me that all life is beautiful. Before volunteering, to be honest, I was afraid of the mentally challenged. It’s a very common fear, and looking back I don’t even know why I was like that. Henry could look at the calendar and tell me the numbers and the days of the week. He loved finger painting, and playing in the sprinkler by himself at recess. Henry changed my life. He taught me tolerance and acceptance even though he couldn’t form sentences. And Henry was one of many.
Sometimes I don’t think people realize just how lucky, blessed and gifted they are. If you take anything from what I have said, I hope that it is a new realization of the beauty of life, and I hope I have motivated you to reach out to at least one person. All of you are the present and your efforts will live on in the future through the people you have touched, and the people they have touched, and your efforts will hopefully be passed along spinning a web that I hope is stronger than fake silk scientists have created.
I’d like to end with a prayer.
Help us to cherish life, and to encourage and participate in all pro-life efforts. Guide those who are faced with difficult decisions to make the right one, and be with all of us through our trials and tribulations.
And please remember, little things, even and especially prayer, make a difference.