Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Quotes are often thrown around to make points or to prove someone correct, but this one really says something about who we are, and who we should be.
This quote is very important and should sculpt the everyday actions of people from leaders, presidents and ambassadors to the common people of the world.
Now, technically, our lives begin to end the second we are born. But this quote, figuratively, is talking about more than just physical life. "Begin to end" does not refer to death, but to memory and legacy.
Our decisions affect our time on Earth and all the time afterward, in how we live and how we are remembered. All of the great, remembered people of the world never truly die; they're still here in memory. And they are remembered for one main reason: they spoke about topics that mattered.
"The things that matter" are often not tangible. Equality matters. Freedom matters. Happiness and peace matter. And when we don't have those things, we need to fight for them and break the silence. If we don't have those things, we need to fight for them and break the silence. If we don't, and we give in, our life truly starts to end. Our world is a complicated place that will always have problems. It will never be perfect, but if we want something close to that, we need to take action to make change.
When we become silent about things that matter, it means we don't stand up, or speak out. All of history's greatest leaders have made the world better, and started to do this by expressing their concerns, eventually starting a movement, which lead to change.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself was a great example of this quote. Although he is dead, he still lives in memory, in our hearts and our minds. Why? Because he spoke up. He saw the problem of racial inequality, and fought for a different world. He did this because, to many people, including himself, this mattered.
He successfully made change and with peace. He used nothing but his words and created one of the largest movements in U.S. history.
In life, there are two paths: the easy path and the hard one. If you take the easy way out, you make sure you are fine and do what you need to do. Martin Luther King took the hard route: helping others more than himself, and doing more than what was required. He was a true leader; he was changing the world and solving its problems.
Our life. Our love. Our legacy. They all start to slip away the second we turn a blind eye to the things that matter. If we want freedom, peace, happiness, equality, then we need to take them. They won't come unless we stand up ... and speak out. For ourselves. For our loved ones. For all the people around us. If we want the things that matter, we need to break the silence.
Sully Maley, of Bradenton, is in seventh grade at R. Dan Nolan Middle School.