Nothing is Given on a Silver Platter

The best writing is often very personal. All kinds of experiences-serious, funny, unexplained, fleeting – can influence our lives and help shape who we are. Tell us about a person, place, or event in your life that has particular meaning for you, and why it is important to you. We’d especially like to hear about someone or something that has affected your life that may not have affected or even been noticed by other people.

The saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is more than just a hackneyed expression. In actuality, it still holds an ounce of truth. My father has always been the family man, an honorable person who unwaveringly cares for and supports his only lifelines, his wife and children. From humble and lowly beginnings, my father came to America seeking the “American Dream.” He found it, mostly. Emigrating here from China in the 1960s, my dad lucked out and became more than just another no-name refugee finding a safe-haven from turmoil. He became the personification of struggle, determination, and ultimately success. Ever since my early childhood, my father has always tried to instill in me a sense of decorum and responsibility. At the dinner table is where I remember him always trying to teach proper etiquette and table manners. I never really understood the purpose behind stressing over how to eat dinner properly or how to fold your napkin neatly. In addition, he always pestered me about my academic life and wished that I could finish my work on time and get that magic 100 on all of my tests. His steadfast and persistent approach to discipline was something I never could grasp. Looking back on it, I wish that I had listened and put more effort in my work and my studies. It is only now that I have the wisdom to understand that his teachings were only meant for me to learn to be virtuous and to be honest with people. Consequently, I have inherited my father’s approach toward life. What I learned from him is that nothing in this life is handed to a person on a silver platter. If one wishes to buy that car or house or to gain someone’s respect, one has to earn it. Only through hard work and perseverance can one truly obtain something valuable. Before I was born, my father suffered an incapacitating stroke that left half of his body unable to function. Nonetheless, he recovered and was still able to provide for his family of six. Considering the circumstances that were pitted against him, he made due with his recovery and provided for me as any sensible family man would. It is with this sense of will and resolve that I yearn to better my own self and to learn from his example of continuing even through the toughest of times.

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