Jennifer Pastrich
High School Honorable Mention
New York

"What is the Meaning of Life?"

     My Grandpa is 82 years old. He is not as quick as he used to be, and he has trouble seeing sometimes. However, he understands more than we give him credit for, and he's had a lifetime of experience. When I posed this question to him, he said, after thinking for a while, "The meaning of my life is to leave this world a better place for my grandchildren and their children." I couldn't have said it better myself.
     I think that the key to this question lies in the process of elimination. In my mind, the meaning of life cannot be simple. It cannot be "to be happy," or "to get rich." Life is the most precious gift we, human being, have ever known, and therefore the meaning of life has to go just as deep. Many people may say the meaning of life is to be happy, but that’s too personal. Other may say " to have children," or "to expand the human race," but then consider the problems, such as disease, overpopulation, and the destruction of natural resources, animals, and the very earth itself. Some may say to love, but many people love the wrong things. These things cannot be the meaning of life.
     Although I said the meaning of life cannot be that simple, I do not think it can be overly profound either. It is something that everyone can understand and accept. For every person that dies, there is at least one person born, it's the natural cycle of life. When you die, what will you have lift behind to improve this crazy, hectic, and sometimes, cruel world for future generations. Perhaps this seems a difficult task, but I don't expect everyone to try to change the world or cure a disease or stop pollution. If anything, maybe it's too easy.
     My mother is a third grade teacher for a local school district. She teaches her students math, English, social studies, study skills, and science. All of these lessons will probably help her students for the rest of their schooling, but she also indirectly teaches them acceptance, love, and empathy. In doing all of this, she has given them the power to live happy and virtuous lives. Now, they have the chance of bettering someone else's life along the way. Everyone can make a difference.
     By leaving the world a better place than you found it, you have not only discovered the meaning of life, but you have shared it. When you use this precious gift to change the lives of others, you are giving back. When you give back, you leave something of a legacy behind you, and in that you are immortal.

Kids Philosophy Slam Home Page