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By Jason O.

When I was five, I lost my grandmother. And though I was going through a tough time, I also knew God had my back and would help me get through any challenge. Life is full of  unexpected challenges that everyone goes through; It does not matter if you are religious or not, you will still experience a tough time. I went through so much that I thought things would never get better. It took me over two years, but I finally realized that if I wanted a better future for myself and for my family and friends, I would need to put in the work.

So, I started practicing virtuous living, using the life principle. I started helping others whenever it was possible. I did not laugh at or make fun of another person’s mistakes and I did not use sarcasm or put-downs. I used my good manners and allowed others to go first. I took responsibility for all of my actions, and I apologized to everyone I have ever hurt. I’ve still got one more person to apologize to, and I'm waiting till I get out to do it. I will show them that I have grown up, and am now becoming a man.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

This writer is a student at Southwest Oklahoma Youth Academy Charter School, who participated in a collaboration with students in English classes at Oklahoma Christian University. The work was first published in “Unaware,” an anthology developed as part of the program.