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Laws of Life Essay Contest

Today we highlight Jocie Alex Lee for her essay placing 3rd in the State of Ohio. Great job Jocie. Your Beth Messiah family is proud of your accomplishment.

The Laws of Life Essay Contest, created in 1987 by Sir John Templeton, inspires young people of all backgrounds and abilities to focus on their values and principles by challenging students to discover through reflection and writing the principles, people, and experiences that have helped to shape their life.

The Essays are selected from 22 Ohio Counties. 2,200 Essays were reviewed and out of them 20 were selected. Jocie (AJ) Lee was the student selected from Walnut Springs Middle School in Westerville. She won 3rd place for 8th graders in the State of Ohio.


The Capability to Discern
Alex Lee

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Empathy is the feeling behind the words “I understand.” It is the power to comprehend what others feel, and acknowledge how they think. It is not something taught, but something learned. It is the need to nurture. It is how compromises are made, and apologies are accepted. It is the most humane thing to feel.

In the past years of my life I have had a lot of difficulties, but nothing can compare to the adversities me and my family have faced the last 12 months. Around March 2022 due to the safety of my home, me, my mom, and my brother had to leave the house we were living in. We had nothing other than clothes and basic necessities. My family was frequently staying at friends houses for about 3 weeks before we found somewhere to permanently stay. When we arrived at the house, we still had nothing, and for a while it felt like we had no one. We were soon proven wrong though. Friends, family, people we didn't even know started to help us. We were brought beds, furniture, dishes, silverware, and many more things we lacked. People gave my mom job opportunities, and sent money and letters of encouragement to us. This is what I believe empathy is. Not a single person who helped me was required to, yet something in their hearts encouraged it, and they went out of their way to provide.

Another example of empathy is simply just sensing when someone is upset. When a friend loses something close to their heart, or when a person you care about gets hurt. It is when you put yourself in their place and perceive what they are feeling to the point it makes you understand them. Acting upon empathy is really what makes the difference though.

A great example of acting upon empathy, that changed lives, is in 2011 during the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Mr. Yamada, a 72 year old retired engineer, organized a team of older pensioners to replace young engineers working with dangerous radiation in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Mr. Yamada, and others who joined him, helped many people's lives by preventing them from getting the cancer caused by the radiation. 200 Japanese pensioners offered themselves to help end the catastrophe, because they believed that they should face the danger instead of the young. I think this is empathy because the pensioners valued the lives the young engineers had over theirs, and would rather have their own affected by the toxic radiation.

In closing, Mohsin Hamid, a famous novelist once stated “Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” I consider this quote honest, and think it applies to the actions of caring, and showing empathy, and how it influences you. If everyone was attentive and understood each other the world would be a more magnificent and humane place.

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