Advanced Essay 2: Treat Others how you Wish to be Treated

Treat Others how you Wish to be Treated Jackson Shumard

In a picture, taken by Vadim Ghirda there is a lot of people doing different things. We can see about a dozen men, knee-deep in a flowing river doing various tasks. Some of the men look to be holding one man back from the others. Most of the other men are standing around watching this happen while a man in the back stands around with his camera taking pictures. At the same time, we can see a baby being passed from man to man which seems to be in hope to get it away from the water. Although it is a very chaotic photograph, it is obvious the baby is the focal point of the picture.This picture was taken to show that even in a time of chaos there will be ones who put other priorities first and feel an obligation to others. This is significant because there is a wide range of responses people have in situations of despair. Growing up, and to this day I commonly hear the phrase “treat others how you wish to be treated” and I keep it fresh in my memory. This phrase holds a lot of weight when having a discussion about obligations to others. Obligations can look very different when dealing with people of varying importance in your life. Most people would say they feel the most obligation towards their family and friends, but what about strangers? I think that when dealing with strangers peoples obligations greatly vary. Many people feel little to no obligation to strangers and no pity to those in situations below theirs, but there are also a ton that are the complete opposite. For example, the people that serve in the military, the fire department, first responders, teachers, and policemen are all careers that are based on serving the needs of others who are almost always strangers. But even more specific than that, what about the people who do more to help individuals? The ones that feed the homeless, or help people cross the street, or even holding the door. What caused such the variation in levels of obligation people feel and what obligations (if any) do we have to strangers? While reading “Enrique’s Journey” there was many obvious examples of people helping strangers they had never seen and probably never would again. “Enrique is stunned by the generosity. In many places where the train slows in Veracruz-at a curve or to pass through a village-people give. Sometimes twenty or thirty people stream out of their homes along the rails toward the train. They wave. They smile, they shout, and then they throw food.” In this scenario dozens of people ride the tops of trains for days through mexico, few with money for food or water. In the small and very poor town that this train is traveling through countless families come out of their homes on the regular to give a portion of what little they have to the migrants on the trains. I found this significant because of how much it is related to the question of what obligations people feel towards strangers. In this case these people feel obligated to feed the countless different people coming through their village every week when they themselves have very little. When it is looked into more closely, many people can’t afford to be giving away food or water, but they do. “These are unlikely places for people to be giving food to strangers. A World Bank study in 2000 found that 42.5 percent of Mexico’s 100 million people live on $2 or less a day. Here, in rural areas, 30 percent of children five years old and younger eat so little that their growth is stunted, and the people who live in humble houses along the rails are the poorest.” If this information is true, and they still give away little of what they have why is it rare to see someone help a stranger at in Philadelphia? The variation of obligation people feel to others is something that I think exists a lot less in America. I think for the most part Americans are greedy. Many have ten times what those people in Mexico do, but won’t share a penny to someone who needs it. I think that the level of variation that people feel towards others is a response to how a person grew up. It is much more likely for someone who has struggled themselves and gone through hardships to recognize when someone else is and lend support. That is why so many of the Mexican families living along the tracks feed others, because they too have been hungry or poor at a point. In a place like America the attitude is different. There is a stigma to work and get it on your own and little pity to those who rely on others. While in certain situations this may be the appropriate response, I think that many people just need a little help or proof that someone cares about them to get them back on their feet. If everyone would show a little more obligation to help those around them it would benefit everyone. Pg.106 “Enrique’s Journey” Pg.105 “Enrique’s Journey”

My goal for this essay was to make people think about their obligations to others. When we look at how people treat strangers it varies from person to person with a wide range of responses. I am proud of how I examined the responses of the people living in Mexico along the train tracks. using the book “Enrique’s Journey.” It greatly shows the difference in how strangers are treated there compared to other places in the world and bring up the question of why that is.