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[YRP Students' Essays] Soul Surfer

What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose that God created us for and what does He want us human beings to do? Many readers will have given these questions some thought before. Some people find the answer and some do not. Fourteen-year-old Bethany Hamilton found her own answer, but it took a shark biting off her left arm to realize it. In her book, Soul Surfer, Bethany writes about the horrible accident she went through. Her messages in this book are very strong and will affect the readers' outlook on life.

Personally, this book was one of the most strongly written books with many important messages that I have ever read. One of the main messages was about faith. "For I know the plans for you, declared the Lord, plans to prosper you and give you hope and future" (Jeremiah 29:11). This is a section in the Bible that Bethany read when she had the accident. She thought there was a reason that she was the one getting her arm bit off. God was with her, and she was just going through another hard time like everybody does in their lives. Her strong faith in God helped Bethany recover. Readers will understand that no matter what they do or where they go, they will always bump into the "big shark" one day. Life is filled with the good and the bad. We cannot ignore the bad. What makes us stronger is how we deal with our fears and the bad. Bethany had miraculously done this by writing Soul Surfer and talking about her accident to many people. She has given courage to people and brought awareness to people to raise funds for those who are having difficulties coping with their disabilities.

Another message in this book is not giving up. This is not easy to do. It takes a lot of effort and strong belief in yourself. Many people thought Bethany would never surf again, but she never gave up. She was scared but she feared more having to lose something that she loved. Even with one arm, she got back on the board. This news again gave much hope and courage to people. Readers will be awed by Bethany's courageous actions. She is a bright girl with a very tough heart. She thought God had chosen her to cope with her accident and give hope and courage to all the people who need it. She thought that she, herself, was a messenger from God. Bethany had made the bad parts of her life into the brighter and stronger parts of her life. This is what we readers all must do and learn from Bethany. Even though she is still young, she tells us an important message in our lives that we all must listen to.

This is a book that will definitely change the readers' perspective on life. Young, old, boy or girl, many readers will learn something very important from Bethany's experience.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Saira Kitagawa, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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