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When I opened my yearbook, I began to reminisce about my half year of high school in China. As I flipped through the pages of the yearbook, a picture of an old man with a benevolent smile caught my eyes. Daydreaming about the incident, my eyesight became hazy, and I felt my hands becoming swollen, which always refreshes my memory of his profound words.
His name is Mr. Zang, my high school teacher in China. A very thin and tall man, Mr. Zang is very caring and always tries to understand the students' concerns and finds joy in having conversations with them. Mr. Zang and I used to discuss my plans to go to the US and why I studied English so intensively. He helped give me confidence that I would find success in the US, and I began to think of him as a very respectable man. When I found out that Mr. Zang, unlike most teachers in China, never hit students, I began to respect him even more. Unfortunately, other students had negative opinions of him and thought he was a coward.
"You know what? Your favorite teacher, Mr. Zang, is really sissy." Chang-Min screamed, pointing a finger at me. "I think he is afraid of students. That's why he can't hit students."
Staring at him enraged that he would speak badly about my favorite teacher, I dashed at him and yelled, "Don't talk about Mr. Zang that way. OK?" A constant troublemaker at school, Chang-Min was shocked that I stood up to him and looked at me surprised. He thought I was always introspective and would never stand up for myself, and he could sense his hard-earned notoriety slipping away.
Looking at his ridiculous, surprised face, I grew even angrier. Ironically, to defend a teacher who didn't hit students, I resorted to violence to deal with Chang-Min. Suddenly, I kicked him in the stomach, and we started fighting. Phil-bong, the vice-principal, caught us and brought us to the student life center for punishment. Phil-bong didn't even ask us why we fought; he simply asked who hit first. Admitting that I did, Phil-bong proceeded to beat my hands until they were swollen and reddish. Watching me getting hit by Phil-bong angered Mr. Zang, and afterwards he asked me why I hit Chang-Min. Mr. Zang convinced Phil-bong to forgive me, and I started to blame my classmate for my sore hands, and I asked Mr.
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"Why did I hit him? Why?" I thought to myself. My classmate came and asked me for forgiveness. I couldn't talk for a moment.
"I know how mortified you felt." Mr. Zang said.
"But, everyone can make a mistake and can be forgiven by others. When we ask for forgiveness and forgive others who have done any wrong, we begin to heal the world of all its illness and hatred. When we all offer forgiveness in our daily lives, we give to the world one of the most effective and best remedies of social disorder. Forgiveness is always a choice we make. We can choose to hold on to the past, and suffer the consequences, or we can choose to forgive. We can do this for every resentment that we carry. Try to forgive yourself and others. That's the greatest thing you can choose."
His words still ring in my ears and helped change my outlook on life and how I should behave in the US. I realized that it is silly to hold grudges in life and that I should instead work to resolve my problems through peaceful solutions. Thanks to Mr. Zang and Chang-Min, I realized the need to forgive.
Suddenly, I am awakened from my daydream when a friend yells: "Hey, what are you doing in your room, it's Friday night?" I slowly closed the yearbook and thought about what might have happened to me if I never learned about forgiveness.