184 thoughts on “Family

  1. Wanderleay Tejada

    No Role Models in this conformist world
    I never met what would be considered a true role model. It was as if they were all extinct by the time I was born.Growing up the one thing that really mattered was making something of yourself. The problem was the idea of success was cloudy, no one really set the bar for me or even gave me the instructions on how to do it. It was just expected that I would somehow “ make it” without any help or guidance. My only role models were negative ones; the ones that a proper parent with a master’s degree and a job with a six figure salary would point out to his son and saying “ you see Billy, that’s what happens when you do drugs” and he in response would say “ gee dad I would never do drugs in my life.” It was as if they were there for me to show me what can go wrong, and believe you me; a lot can go wrong. My difference within my peers is somewhat of a scandal; the fact that their high light would be to drive a used up Honda Civic with the seat moved back so that they can barely see the road and a stereo system that could be heard in the next town over. Was as a travesty, that was to me of course because for the rest it was as if this was the norm. That a teenage boy could reach enlightenment by driving around drunk or high out his mind and a teenage girl could succeed by twerking on MTV. Now I am not saying that there is nothing wrong with that; all I am saying is that there are other options. Our so call role models should promote a better life style and in return we will be a better as a whole.

    For me education is a way out, is the light at the end of the tunnel. The sad part is that it seems as if I stood alone in this matter; tired of people telling me that I am just wasting my time by going to college, quite honestly I am so tired of seeing the smartest kids, “the ones that were going to make it” come back home with the a face full of regret and a heart full of disappointment as if all their life they believe in education but education never believe in them. The road to success was not paved for me. I have to pave the road for others I have to be the one who gets there first and come back and tell the others that is safe; as you can see losing is not an option for me it’s like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders but I can’t show it, all I have to do is smile and remember to keep moving forward. I have to remember that I am alone in this journey and that I must win at all cost.

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    • Although our stories are a little different, I can relate to this so much. Education has been a huge part of my life that I have relied on and carry all the weight without anyone knowing. It is not something that feels good at the time. However, the risk is worth the reward and hard work will always get you to that reward. Keep working hard! You will always succeed

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    • I love this piece truly. I like the authenticity and the passion with which is written. In certain parts I could relate with the role models being almost non existent and the people around u settling so now it’s all on you to set everything up in motion. But I don’t really see you bringing up family much and I believe that maybe this would best be suited in the faith or perservarance thoughts. Still great work.

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    • Honestly I agree so much with this post. Job well done. Today’s society just doesn’t know when to quit with making the next generation suffer the idea that the only way to achieve something is by doing something negative such as selling drugs, or that education isn’t as important. Just keep believing in you and u will make it up there. 👌🏻💯

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    • This is so strong and does have a point. “Education always come first” my uncle Wil will always tell me. It is a crazy world out there, it’s either you stand up for yourself and do something GOOD for yourself or let social media or other things consume you, leading you to a different path. This is what people are missing. I hope they realize how important it is.

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  2. What does the sight of a dead body do to an adolescent mind. The sight of my father’s dead body affected my adolescent mind in many different ways. At that time, I questioned life and everything around me. The crucial part about that would be how I responded to the dramatic change in life. At a young age boys usually understand the role of the father in the home: to protect, bring food, and represent the family in public. What then happens to me if my father is not there to show me how things are? Growing up is such a delicate process and when rushed or interrupted, it can go in a totally different path. In my case, it went right due to the efforts of my family members around me and my mother.
    The memory of this event guided hastening maturation process. I went from happy and energetic to happy, energetic and observant. There was something in seeing my father’s motionless body in a coffin that showed me fear and the reality of life. During that scaring moment, a stream of emotions just started to flow down my cheeks. When I saw that coffin, a bit of rage, fear, anxiety, sadness, and guilt ran through my body. I felt rage because I blamed myself thinking that I could have done something to help him. I felt anxiety and fear because I then thought about if I was going to die next soon. Even until today, I am not sure if I will die at the same age he did. Lastly, I felt sadness and guilt because I just lost my father and there was nothing that I could have done. How was I going to process all of this at the fragile age of 5 years old?
    Ever since my mother has been working tirelessly to make me who I am today. She has worked with me in and out of school to make sure everything is going well with me. There were days when she would come from work in the morning and I would be at home in a corner because I didn’t want to go to school. She would then try to convince me to go to school and if she saw that I was unwilling, she would call off of work and stay home to talk to me and comfort me. Keeping in mind that she was a single mother and the only source of income, what she did was really big. I usually never see the effects of what my mother does, but when I do, I make sure to appreciate it and I am grateful. My motivation became the thought of my father in the coffin. Whenever I had those thoughts, I had a little push to do whatever I needed to. Since I heard so many good things about him, I wanted to be just like him. It was like I was chasing his ghost. I had heard so many of his life stories about how he helped the community pave roads and he was well known around town. Inspired by that, I would want to reach that goal too, so I would go out into my community and try to help others at soup kitchens and in other organizations, so I could be as well known as him. My mother and he have been the most influential people in my life and I am who I am today because of them. Family is a very special unit in society and my family is what made me who I am today.

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    • This was beautifully written, as the reader it made me feel multiple emotions. Your family must be amazing I could never imagine going through something like that. I’m sorry for your loss.

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    • I read this and while I was reading it tears roll down my eyes. I was in that kind of situation, but my dad lived and he is doing well now. Almost 2 years ago, my dad had to get an open heart surgery as soon as possible. I was so worried that every little pain he goes through I can’t help but cry because of my fear and anxiety.. I didn’t show it to him, because I don’t want him to see me weak.. Because he thought me how to be brave and strong. The day when his surgery was done, the nurse lead us to him to visit, and he was there, he looked like he was sleeping, but with a bunch of tubes inside him. As I get closer to him, I couldn’t hold back and cried, my bad thoughts flashing back, my fears that losing him, where would I be, would I still live normally, what will happen to me and my family if we lose him. As he was recovering, I was in school and my senior year, he became my inspiration, I grind my way to school, to stay and to achieve my goals. And as I graduated, I worked at a retail store, to help my mom with our financial needs. And when he got better, here I am, I worked hard to get the things that I wouldn’t have gotten if it wasn’t for him, it may not be easy, but I didn’t give up. And Bryan, you are not alone, if you need any help, don’t be shy or be afraid to reach out. There are plenty of people that will support you and will be by your side through your story. Be brave and be strong!

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  3. Alexander Victorino

    To put it simply it’s hard to go through life alone and isolated. One strong belief and principle I was taught to value and grow up with was family. That no matter what, it will always be there. I choose to stand by this principle and live by it because family is what helped me get this far in the first place whether it be their sacrifices, their support or the hard work they had to go through to put me in the position I am now. Sure family sometimes can have its fair share of problems and be a pain in the butt, but it’s only because they care and love you to their fullest. Being raised in a family where they had to work for absolutely everything they have and work together to help each other out made me appreciate the people around me and helped me pick out my friends. Family is not only limited to blood relatives but is those you hold dearly to your heart. Family are those who have special meaning in your life and unfortunately I learned that in a tragic way when I my best friend since the 4th grade was gunned down just a couple years ago and I was shocked and stunned at what just had happened. My heart felt for this loss pretty hard. I knew he was one of the most important people in my life and one of the best people I have ever met but that moment I realized I loved him like family. He was a brother from another mother. Family extends to those outside your bloodline and only you can decide who your family is. So as we enter a new chapter in our lives together I believe that we should treat each other like family and build a bond that will take us to the next level of appreciation for those in our lives. College is probably the craziest roller coaster of all and we need someone to ride it with us.

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    • Undergoing an obstacle so tragic as one that you’ve experience can completely bring down a person. Although we’ve all had our own backgrounds and personal experiences, I can relate to your story in my own understanding. At a young age, a traumatic experience can drastically affect how a person will turn out; however, having a supportive family to fall back on who will assist your through all of life’s obstacles can save a person in so many ways!

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    • Love this piece, I do agree with your statement, family isn’t just limited to your bloodline, but those to who are the people close to your heart as well. Beautifully written!

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      • Yes Jolina family is not just limited. One of the fewest things that can truly make someone feel happy and appreciated is family because they understand you better than most. Family can be ever extending.

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    • I can definitely relate to this. Family has always been my top priority. I also have several people in my life that I consider family, as they have the same qualities as a family member (patience, kindness, honesty, love, etc…) I was bullied pretty harshly from 7th to 10th grade and I know that there isnt any way I could’ve overcame it without the help of my family. I was constantly judged on my appearance and they helped me realize that I’m a beautiful person both inside and out, and also taught me to see the beauty in others. Amazingly written— awesome job! 🙂

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  4. I believe that your background defines who you are entirely. Some children are raised in lives of luxury where they do not have to worry about finances or what house they have to move to next. Those children have not seen the worst part of the world yet and they should not have to. Now for the children who have seen the ugly side of the world, more likely than not, they mature quickly. I am one of those children who has lived and breathed what it is like to experience a life that is not typical of many others in my community. Growing up, my parents divorced at a young age and my mom was always an alcoholic. Living with her was something extraordinary. As I started getting older, I began to realize that my maturity level was much higher than my peers because I was one of few who had be their own parent at home. I believe that I became a hardworking student because of my mother. I believe that I put forth immense amounts of effort, in fear that one day I would have children and I would not be able to provide and parent them so they could experience the life of a child that I was never able to do. I believe that a person’s home life changes them forever and that is something they will always remember, whether it be good or bad experience. I believe that life is solely what you make out of it and any bad can be turned to good with the correct mindset. Any person can accept that they do not have a perfect life and continue to live in the bad of their life. However, it takes strength and passion to create something amazing out of something negative.

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    • Fallon, I think you did a great job expressing your home life, and how you were so strong during it all. I too have divorced parents and it’s not the same situation as you, but I took my negative situation and grew up seeing the good of it, like having two separate family lives.

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    • Fallon, I 100% agree with you when you say that mindset determines the direction of your life. I have grown up in a family that has its fair share of those with addiction problems. I see what it does, and how it affects those around them. However, if you choose to rise above all the negative circumstances in your life you most definitely can live good. It’s up to the individual to pave their way to happiness and success, even though it might be tougher for them than it is for others.

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  5. I guess my family isn’t exactly normal. I suppose my family isn’t exactly one family either. I have a lot of families. I have a family made up of teenagers and grown men, who build things together, another one connected through blood, one that’s just 7 teenagers and the one I hope to have in the future. Family for me isn’t about blood. Yes, blood is thicker than water, but you need both to stay alive. Both can do harm. Sometimes you need to lose blood so a wound can clot and you can finally stop bleeding and other times you drink to much water and now well not to be vulgar, but you need to piss. To put one before the other is a ridiculously black and white view on relationships. My family of friends and my family of blood are equally as important to me. When I think of my future I see both families in it. When I am talking to my friends, I say, “I can’t for our family parties in the future.” Because in the end, they’re my family. I am more myself near them than my actual family.
    This year we adopted a new member into our family and it couldn’t be better. They’re still adjusting. For sake of privacy, we’ll call him Jazzman. He’s a freshly turned dancing queen, 17. He’s very self-conscious and sometimes I think he forgets he’s a part of our family. And it hurts because I want him to know we’ll always be there for him through thick and thin. I know he’ll always be there for us. That’s what defines who is family, people who are always there for you, people you can joke around with, people you can be unapologetically yourself around and people who you will cut a bitch for you on call. A family isn’t about forgiving your father countless times for forgetting your birthday, or letting yourself be treated like garbage because “they’re blood” or making excuses for your boyfriend or friends shitty behavior because “that’s just how they are”. If you have those people in your life I recommend you go to the closest craft store and pick up those fancy scissors with the patterns (because they make everything better) and cut those people out of your life. You will bleed, but you need to bleed in order to heal.
    Cutting those people out of my life showed me who my real family is. They don’t judge me, they call me out when I’m being problematic, they love me. And guess what? They remember my f**king birthday. They are everything to me and I will do anything for them. If they’re feeling sad I will do anything in my power to make it, even if I can’t I’ll be there shoulder to cry on. Blood may be thicker, but you need water and blood to stay alive.

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    • Beautifully written! I can relate lie so many others with feeling more myself around those who may not be related through blood, but the family I chose for myself. Loved this!!

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    • Kat, this piece is truly amazing! I have always believed that we choose who we want to have in our lives. Whether or not we’re bonded together by blood, those who care and love us for the person we choose to be will always be known as real family.

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    • This is honestly so beautifully written and worded. I feel like your post can relate to not only me but many others, it was amazing!

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    • I guess I never really thought about it like this. It’s kinda true that I’m more like myself when I’m around my friends and cousins than my general family. But that’s because most of my family are grown ups and don’t spend that much time together. All in all this is tremendously written and I can agree with a lot of stuff here

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    • I agree with everything you wrote about, I also have others that I consider family that are not blood related, and how they are just as important as my blood family.

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    • I really enjoyed this piece it really sheds a light on what family means. Written beautifully and it sounds like it comes straight from the heart.

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  6. For the past few years, my family has faced many struggles that has taken a toll on me
    mentally and physically. It all started my Junior year of high school. Like every other
    student, I was filled with excitement to be an upper-classman and have more authority
    when walking thru the halls. Kids looked up to me. They looked to me for guidance and
    leadership. Then I began to face hard scary changes.
    I had noticed something different with my mom. I suggested she go see her doctor.
    Thankfully my mom listened to me.
    My mom and I got into one of our awful fights when she got home from her doctor
    appointment. I was going to sleep at my friend’s house. As I was about to leave, my
    parents called me into the kitchen. When I got there, I could see something was wrong
    just by the way they were looking at me. I could see in my mom’s eyes she was already
    crying. Then she began to say the doctors called; they say I need to go in for more tests.
    They believe I have Ovarian Cancer. I had no idea what to do or say. I was so upset and I
    regretted everything that I just said.
    I look at my family in a different way and I realized how much they mean to me. Any
    moment a loved one can be taken from me so I think before fighting over things I won’t
    remember.

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    • when I was reading this, it brought me to tears. I cannot imagine what you have gone through, I’m just glad that I’m going to be in a school with such a strong person.

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  7. Every action we take has unimaginable outcomes, affecting countless people close to us and even perfect strangers. While this may seem like an extreme and bold claim, it is the reason why you are reading this.
    As a newborn, I was abandoned. Discovered amid an open-air market, I was brought to an orphanage, where I would spend the first sixteen months of my life. Halfway across the world, an American couple was matched through a Chinese adoption agency with a little girl and immediately knew that she was a part of their family. In 2001, they embarked on the fifteen-hour plane ride to China. After spending three weeks in a bustling city, they flew back to their small-town farming community in Massachusetts, but this time, with a daughter.
    I found a family.
    My adoption has led me to the realization that our lives can rely heavily upon the decisions one person makes. The choices everyone made during—and even before—my adoption have resulted in my life in the United States of America, typing a blog post for a college summer assignment. Had any of those choices been altered, I could still be in China, living a life that is the complete antithesis of what I am fortunate to have now. Recognizing that my life could have traveled down two polar paths has prompted me to consider the repercussions of my actions and keep others’ well-beings in mind, while always remaining grateful for everything that I call home. It is this mindset that I wish to share with our world, as understanding how our choices—no matter the size—affect the world leads to a greater appreciation of life.

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    • Wow, Kylie. What a beautiful narrative illustrating the power behind our decisions… and at the same time, our probably willful acceptance to just see life one dimensionally when in fact it’s a web of our interconnected movements. Lovely.

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      • kylie I can relate to this experiences so strongly, I went through a similar situation being given up for adoption as a baby, and being in foster care until age 8, But were both stronger because of this. this was very well written, had me thinking back and how life throws curve balls but we were both ready to catch them and throw them back.

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    • Kylie, such a beautiful life story that touched my heart because I have a very similar story. I was also born in China and was adopted when I was 2. You give a very strong message at the end about how one choice can change somebody’s life- big or small. I think I often forget how my everyday behavior is influencing someone else. Great post<3

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  8. Growing up, I had a life different than most other kids my age. My parents had divorced when I was four years old, and I grew up living between my moms house and my dads depending on the day of the week. Having two separate families meant two birthdays, two Christmases, and two of almost every holiday. Divorce and difficult family matters can be very hard, especially for when I was a young child. However, I grew up and made this negative situation into a positive one. I have grown up with my mom’s new husband, who has had a huge impact on my life in so many ways. I have learned throughout the years to appreciate how my live has laid out as far as my family goes. If my parents hadn’t gotten divorced when they did, I likely would’ve taken it a lot harder if I was older when it eventually would’ve happened. So many families in today’s day and age do not end up successful, so for me to have been able to go through it when I was much younger, and live almost my whole life with this lifestyle, it made it a lot easier for me. My parents also have a good relationship with each other where they can be civil and kind to one another without having any arguments or bad blood. This definitely eases the situation as well, making the whole thing as positive as it could be for what happened. My family life is not a typical one like some other families, but family is the most important thing to me, and although I grew up with a bit of a different family lifestyle, I would never change it for the world. Just because a bad thing happened between my parents, does not mean it should stay deemed a bad thing forever.

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    • I love how you took something negative and turned it into something positive that impacted your life in a positive way. It must’ve been so hard for you to go through something like that at such a young age but you went through and it makes you a stronger person in the end!

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  9. My grandparents taught me to never burn a bridge, or fully shut a door. I believe this has been one of the most important life lessons passed to me along with the wisdom that multigrain bagels just aren’t as good as regular ones. To burn a bridge means to cut someone out of your life, typically ending things in a bloody way where hurtful words are spoken but sometimes not fully meant. It is because of this lesson I find it hard to relate to other members of my generation that cut “toxic” people out of their lives at a drop of the hat. Never burning a bridge aligns with the saying of live and let live. Sometimes life pushes people to do questionable things or say questionable things. This lesson has taught me to simply treat people with kindness and give them the benefit of the doubt when these said things occur.
    Do not get me wrong however, I am not an ignorant person who is ready to make excuses for everybody in the world. Not all actions are as easily brushed off as a rumor or distasteful action, and I am also not ignorant to the fact that my life has been different than others. I hold the practice of never burning a bridge to myself as a reminder that connections between people are intricate ones, and sometimes one thing is not enough to eliminate that connection in case it is needed in the future. But like I said before, this lesson is applied to only certain types of discourse, such as rumors or simply a separation of opinion. Sometimes the bridge should be burned if the relationship, friendship, or even blood relation becomes to hurtful but it is up to the individual to determine that. Always be careful with the words you speak because some bridges are simply not worth burning.

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  10. Growing up in a single parent and middle class home I have come to the realization that family is my all. Parents divorced at 5 and my dad hasn’t been in my life since. I am African American and I come from a very big family. I know that through whatever times whether it’s financially, physically or mentally I can always count on someone from my family to give a helping hand and help me out. I am forever grateful that my family comes together as one though we may clash heads a lot we always got each others backs no matter what. My grandmother always used to say “blood is thicker than water” which holds strongly in my household, not only because we see people throwing their relatives to the dirt for temporary people in their life. That to me isn’t okay. Your family has known you the longest and will be with you until your grave. Though not everyone is like me and may have other opinions I feel strongly that family doesn’t always have to be blood related. You can have someone by your side that has earned the role as family to you.

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  11. If you knew that tomorrow would be the last day to see your loved ones, how would you live it? It was January 12th, 2010 at 4:30 pm the most tragic earthquake happened in Haiti. As I was coming home from school I decided to go to the playground with one of my cousins to get some mango’s from the tree. He climbed on the tree and I was standing under the tree to guide him to the fresh mango that I wanted. While he was reaching for the mango. All of a sudden I felt like I was in an elevator going up and down, and I looked behind me there was a bus that my dad had parked in front of the house coming towards me with no one in inside. For a second I thought it was cool the way the ground was shaking it felt like I was in a roller coaster ‘’hilarious right’’. I looked at the houses making cracking making weird noises everything seem strange, I heard people screaming, In a second I lift my eyes up I saw my cousin hanging on one single branch of the tree screaming for help the branch he was hanging on couldn’t hold him anymore and of course the tree was shaking as well, and the next thing I knew he was on the ground passed out. While I was standing there looking I couldn’t run either screamed I was in shocked because I’ve never seen something like that before. Everything happened so fast no one had a chance to do anything, it was insane how many lives and things were destroyed in only 30 seconds.
    After the earthquake, everybody was lost they didn’t know what to do some went on all night searching for their family under the bricks not knowing if they are dead or alive, some people did not have a chance to run outside or to be somewhere safe,the houses collapse while the people were still inside , also some was alive under the bricks screaming for help. The saddest part was you are watching people you were close with dying right in front of you, everybody was hopeless. At that moment something hit me when I saw everybody was concern about one thing only their family, I saw people that never talked to one another for years helping each other all of them had one motive which to save their family members, that’s something I can ever get out of they mind.
    l started to view life differently after that crisis, it also teaches me to enjoy every single moments I have with my family and friends because I never know when I won’t be with them anymore, from that time I treat every moment with my family like it was the last that shape to the kind of person where everybody is equal in my eyes, even appreciate life more and always put my family first.

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  12. I’m a firm believer that a loving and supporting family is one of the most important things you need to be successful in whatever it is that you aspire to do. It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect, white picket fence, family in a perfect neighborhood or if your parents are divorced and you see each parent separately on a pre-planned schedule. As long as both your parents love and support you through everything you can’t even tell the difference. Personally, my parents have been separated ever since I was a baby and I’m constantly going back and forth from house to house to spend quality time with each of my parents separately. However, this imperfection in my family has never affected the way my parents have supported me. Despite everything, my parents equally encourage me to be the best version of myself and become successful in my endeavors. That is everything! I have always been dedicated to my education and being the best student I can be. I graduated high school always striving for that A in all my classes and it resulted in me being my class salutatorian. I would have never accomplished everything that I have without my family’s constant love and support. Knowing that I have that support system back at home motivates me to do the best I can in anything that I do and to always persevere. Of course you have friends that will be there for you, but friends come and go and family is forever. I know it sounds so cliche but it’s true. Without that support from my parents I would not have been able to accomplish even half of the things I have. Family is the one constant in your life that is there no matter what. I don’t know where I’d be today without it.

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  13. family is the most important thing to me. they don’t just sit aside and watch as you make a mistake or do something that could hurt yourself and others around you. I have friends in my life who have lost loved ones; parents, siblings and other loved ones whether it be through natural causes or other reasons that I wont mention. “people say that they know how I feel” one said to me, how does one respond to that, all I could muster out to her was “I’m sorry” followed by one of the largest hugs I could give. I knew that I did not understand her pain because I have not lost anyone in my family before. I can not imagine what I would do if I had lost anyone in my family. nothing would be the same, everything would have one member less. family to me is the most important thing in my life and I would not be the same if anyone in either my immediate or other family were to be gone.

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  14. One of the most meaningful things I have learned growing up is the importance of family. When I was five, my parents became divorced. For most of my childhood, I had two of everything (two households, two families, two of each holiday, etc). Despite the issues they had between each other, they always kept my sister and me out of it. They maintained a healthy friendship for the sake of their children, which is something I am very blessed to have. My parents have both worked so hard to give my siblings and me everything we’ve ever needed and continue to do so. My parents are both remarried now, and continue to be friends. Recently, after graduating high school, both sides of my family were able to celebrate together. To see everyone that I love in one place and getting along was truly a blessing. Many of my friends also have parents that are divorced, none of which get along in the way that my parents do.

    Throughout my life, I have always been lucky enough to have a supportive family that I can count on. Recently, I went through something difficult. This caused me to lose all of my confidence, and made me feel really bad about myself. It was my family who I became closer to during this difficult time. It was my family who helped me see how lucky I am and what amazing things I am capable of. Family doesn’t necessarily have to be who you are related to, but people who support you and love you for who you are. The way I grew up wasn’t perfectly normal, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My family has made me who I am today and I will forever be grateful for that.

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  15. People would often comment on how much I laughed and how happy I always seemed. I, on the other hand, thought that my brother was unhappy simply because of the fights between him and my mom but I didn’t realize that his unhappiness stemmed from something much deeper, and that was the absence and abandonment of my father.  As the years passed and as I matured, I became more and more uncomfortable with my father and especially with what he put our family through.  The more I thought about it and the more closely I observed my friends with their fathers the more I understood how my brother was feeling and I began to experience the same types of emotions.  
    My existence took another dramatic turn when the only male figure in my life, my brother, went to college.   I was a sophomore in high school at the time and our family got smaller once again. Now, without my brother at home, we were three females living in one big house.   I felt very alone and frankly somewhat scared.  I began to feel the same deep sadness I saw in my brother and unfortunately he wasn’t around to share it with me.   I desperately needed someone to talk to as I recognized how my family’s actions were controlled by their emotions.  These emotions weren’t always positive and the negative behavior that resulted from them began to ruin the only relationships we had. We were all so hurt by my father’s abandonment that we stopped appreciating each other and enjoying what was in our presence.  It was the realization that we were risking losing the family we were left with that caused me to decide that we couldn’t go on as we were and we needed to work on healing and moving on with our lives.
    The truth is, no one should go on living a life like this, and so I intended to do everything in my power to help my family move past this unfortunate stage of our lives. I know now that it is hard to be constantly upbeat and positive, and consequently I understand that trying to feel something you really don’t can be frustrating. My mom, my brother, and I started to talk more and did things to bond, we started eating more family dinners together, and we began to grow closer as we used to be before my dad left. I realize now that when you know someone is feeling down, the best thing you can do is be there for them, not necessarily to cheer them up or make them laugh but to listen.  As a result, everyone is now aware of the fact that we all have similar problems but luckily we are learning to deal with them, not alone and internally, but together and openly. I now know that the secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the best out of your circumstances.  Finally, and perhaps more importantly, I have grown to appreciate the family I currently have, and not dwell on the one that used to be.  This realization has not only changed my life but the relationships I have with my family, friends, and even my father.  We can’t go back so we will go forward and everyday we will grow stronger and share this strength with the ones who find themselves in a similar situation, a situation that is not an end but a beginning.

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  16. Every human being is unique and has their own beliefs. For me, I strongly believe in Family and Love because it is where I first felt love. Family is no ordinary people you live with, they are the people you will always connect with, make memories with, spend time with without any cost also grow up and develop with. There are things in life that you will not learn in school, but with family. That is how special and important family is, they teach you a lot of things whether it’s just an everyday chore or a knowledge that you can use as you grow up and be an adult. You are very lucky when you have a family because you will feel to yourself that there’s someone to rely on and will stand by you no matter what, that there’s more than just going back to your house, but your home. They will unconditionally accept you for who you are, what you are and your flaws because family is where love is, and that connects to why I believe in love as well. Love is an intangible thing that you could share and feel with an individual, thing, career, hobbies, or anything in general. Love is more than what you feel for your partner, it is more than that, and the people that you learnt from is your family. Love is something you cannot force out on anyone for you to receive. I always feel loved every time I am with my family because the presence of care and concern are there. For me, family and love are strongly linked together and in my opinion, that they do exist in this wonderful world and if not, this world doesn’t exist, or is different.

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  17. My family is very important to me. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. Even when they make me so mad that I don’t want to be near them. I still love them no matter what and they know it to. one time my dad made me so mad that I didn’t talk to him for about a week. I would always tell him I loved him before he would leave for work just in cause it would be the last time I saw him because you never know. i would do anything and everything for them because that is just who I am.

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  18. In this world there are many different types of people who can get you through life, such as friends, teachers and support groups. However, family is the most important group of people for me. Yes, they can be annoying at times, but they are always there for you. Both of my parents work so they can provide a good life for me and it really means a lot for me. When I was younger, my parents would drive me to sports games and practices. Sometimes they were both working so my aunt would take me, showing how they cared for one another.
    My family is someone that I know I can talk to and trust. If I was having a bad day at school and came home in a bad mood they would comfort me and ask whats wrong and how they could fix it. Along with that, if I had questions or problems in life I knew I could ask my parents for answers and they would help me the best they could. It’s also the little stuff they help me with that makes a big difference and shows they care. If I couldn’t figure out how to do a question on a homework assignment I would want to skip it but they always said don’t do that, we can work it out.
    However, the most important time that family is needed is when there is a death. When my grandpa passed away when I was 6, I remember everyone coming together. It was powerful, in such a dark time everyone came together over such a big event. At the funeral, everyone was comforting people who were saddened, lifting their spirits. Even though I was a little kid when this happened, I can remember it all because of family. Family is the most important group of people in my life.

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  19. For most parts of my childhood, it was sad. I sometimes found it hard to cope with divorces or separations of parents. I wished for all families to grow strong together. At the age of six, I lost all my strength when my father decided to leave the family for awhile. From what I remembered, he left the country with his friend leaving my mother to raise my brother and I. Being a single mother, my family grew up in a tiny apartment. She retained a decent job that could only pay off simple foods like crackers and deli sandwiches to feed us. Some days a loaf of bread or barely anything. I accepted the fact things around my life were going to shift. Because my mother earned a low income working as a part time Certified Nurse Assistant, she woke up every day with fear in her eyes. Feared of getting kicked out the apartment. Feared she’d be given food stamps. Feared she’d lose her children.

    I spent most nights waking up staring at the wall crying. It wasn’t because half the time I starved from hunger, but because I realized I didn’t have a male figure to look up to. One day my mother decided to bring me to my neighbor’s apartment for food and spend time with them. Every day breakfast through dinner. I got the courage to ask my mother why they decided to let us in their house. I intended for her to give me a straightforward answer, but it was something that had hit me in the moment. “You’ll understand when you’re older.” It’s a familiar phrase my mother told me constantly. From this experience, I learned not to get upset with little things that distract you. My father was the distraction. Like what I went through, no family is perfect, and everyone crashes with struggles at some point in life. A real family goes though thick and thin. A real family isn’t just blood relatives, but people who also care about you. Family is a gift from God that will always find a way to help you grow and move past hardships.

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    • This is a reality-check post, Bernadette, and thank you for sharing both your struggle and your courage. You remind us that we never truly know another’s suffering and that kindness is perhaps the most human and generous gift we can offer.

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  20. If you ask me who or what motivates me the most, I will always reply with the same and honest truth, my family. Growing up, family has always been my first and utmost priority. My devotion and value in family stems from the sacrifices my parents have endured as immigrants. Their journey to America has undoubtedly impacted my quality of life and for that I am thankful. My upbringing with immigrant parents was different from most people. From an early age I felt the responsibility to fulfill the dreams and successes my parents envisioned for me. This sense of debt I felt manifested in my strive to do well in school. I compensated for the lack of education my parents have into my own even if this meant growing up faster. I owe it to them for all of their hardship and selflessness. Their willingness to lay their sweat for me and my siblings is what ultimately inspires me to do my best and only my best. Knowing that my parents left their family, culture, and everything they knew to invest in my future has shaped my character as an individual to accomplish whatever goals I set my mind on. Their testament has and will always propel me to work hard and to appreciate the life I lead. The origins of my family have kept me true to myself and at the same time widen my understanding of the different paths and decisions in life we can choose for ourselves.

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  21. I went through High School with two homes. Two places where my family resided. Two places that I felt welcome. Two places where I felt included. The first of which was my house, of course. My family wasn’t anything special, they were as normal as normal could be. My mother was a stay at home mom & my father worked for Time Warner Cable, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. My sister was attending Flagler College down in St. Augustine, FL, and I was at marching band camp. That brings me to my second family: the band. While I was in classes, lunch, or even just the hallways, I always felt off beat from everyone else, as if my internal metronome was out of sync with the rest of them. When I found the band, that changed. I joined band with senses of insecurity and isolation, but I left with a feeling of belonging. I had finally found somewhere in the school where I truly fit in, where I was included. Over the course of several bus rides to competitions & concerts where I played my heart out, that internal metronome started to sync up with the band. From that point on, I’ve had two families, both of which I love deeply.

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  22. For as long as I’ve been able to think for myself, my father and I have had opposing political views. Now, if you’ve been on Twitter recently, you might assume that means we fight each other and shout at one another across the house. Thankfully, this is not the case; we’re very close and always have been. My father is very important to me because he taught me how to stand up for what I believe in. He showed me that I need to have reasons behind my beliefs and not just echo what I hear from other people. Growing up I thought he just liked to mess with me and get me mad on purpose, but as my critical thinking skills developed, I realized what was actually going on. Now I make sure to actually research what I believe in. No opinion is worth having if you don’t know why you feel that way. In today’s world the importance of political debate has been replaced by two uncompromising sides that get offended or try to insult the other side out of the argument. My father made me a stronger person while teaching me the importance of debating with friends or strangers to strengthen opinions or form new ones, an art that seems to be dying away. I hope to use what my dad taught me to teach new ideas to my classmates and peers, and I’m excited to learn from all of you. After all, college is all about enriching yourself with a deeper and more fulfilling education.

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  23. A person can have many different friends as they go through life, but a few of these people could be considered family. Everybody’s family is different from each other, but one fact should remain consistent, and that is you would be willing to trust them with your life. Anybody who matches this description is your family. A person’s family will be there to support them through thick and thin, not run away at the slightest sign of trouble.
    One time I was working on a play and had to support a seventy pound sheet of plywood over my head while a friend screwed it into the platform. I had to trust that my friend would install the screws correctly or this sheet of plywood would fall on me, which would cause a brain injury. That kind of trust is usually only found between people who are close enough to be considered family.
    Another example is how a young child trusts that their parents or guardian will take care of them when they are injured or ill. Would a young kid trust someone they did not know to help them through such a difficult time unless a family member told them that it was okay to trust them? It is for those reasons that I believe trust is the most important aspect of family, and that anyone could become an additional member of your family if enough trust is present.

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  24. My father, mother, and sister are what made me who I am today. I never got to experience the full family experience with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and etc. These three people are what I consider my family as my mother’s side of the family lives in Portugal while my father’s side of the family abandons us. Hardworking is a characteristic I learned from my parents at a young age. My mother dropped out of school during middle school in Portugal to take care of her brothers and sisters and it haunts her until this day. She works like a dog in a bakery getting paid only minimum wage only knowing how to speak a decent amount of English. Watching her come home often with pain in her legs and hands isn’t how it’s suppose to be. My father works in a warehouse as a mechanic while having no education or shops to back him up and when he is told to fix something they just hand him a manual and say “figure it out” while regretting his decision of dropping out of college. That burden will always be in his mind for the rest of his life which is why he pushes me to be the best I can be in school and out. Family is what shapes who you are as a person today and the struggles you seem them go through help you understand what to change to make your life better in the future.

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  25. Throughout my life my family has always been there to count on. I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a household with two loving and supportive parents who continue to always be there for me. Their love and motivation has turned me into the young lady I am today. I truly look up to both my parents. Their hard work has created a strong foundation for my brother and I. They inspire me to reach my goals and have taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. My father is the type of man who has never just been handed anything. Everything he has in life he has worked extremely hard for. He and my mom taught my brother and I to never give up. I believe in myself because they believe in me. They truly are my rock. I owe everything to my parents. They started a life for me where I have the ability to truly do anything. They inspired me to work hard and set goals, and reach those goals. I am who I am today because of them. I appreciate my parents so much and will never stop thanking them for all they do for me. They gave me the courage to enter the field of nursing and pursue a challenging degree. They have no doubt that I will be successful which allows me to believe in myself. All I want to do is make them proud. I believe that they are the reason for all my success. I would not have accomplished anything without them. I love my parents and I am so grateful for them.

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  26. Throughout my life I was always raised to have close family ties. From constantly being around my family when I was younger my mom instantly became a role model to me. She would always be juggling different challenges everyday and still managing to provide for my family with the greatest attitude. When I was young my father got into an accident which broke his bath and in which he was never able to fully recover from. He is able to walk but cannot work due to his back and necks condition, therefore my mom was not able to be around as much when I was younger. She always taught me to set goals and to go for them as soon as I got the opportunity. While taking care of me and my sister during high school she also kept up with a full time job, going to school and coming home for family dinners. Keeping a strong work ethic and being completely selfless is something that I see from her and strive to be. Every day I am learning life lessons and things that inspire me to better myself and I feel that a lot of that is owed to her and all that she’s done to support me and get me to where I am today. She taught me independence, kindness and determination. I owe who I am to my whole family today and I’m grateful to be able to say that.

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  27. Throughout the 18 years I have been alive on this earth I have gone through many unpleasant and unfortunate events just like everyone else. Some of these events, at the time, felt like the worst thing that could ever happen to me. For example, the day my little sister was born, and the day I officially became the dreaded middle child. All the attention I had before was somehow ripped out from under me as Chloe became the newest pride and joy of the household. The first few years were tough, not having nearly as much help as my siblings when it came to school, homework, and all of my 2nd grade drama. However, I have to admit now that I am grateful for the way I was raised to be more independent because it’s a part of who I am now.
    Now let’s fast forward to my teenage years, when my problems became a bit more serious than a classmate stealing one of my gushers during snack time. Freshman year was one of the hardest times in my life so far. This was the year my mom moved out after I found out she was cheating on my dad. I started to question my belief that everything happens for a reason because I didn’t understand what good could possibly come from this. My family was being torn apart. Over the years many things in my life changed. Routines, holidays, traditions, and my dad’s dating life. Seeing my dad moving on was hard for me, even though I knew he deserved it. I just wasn’t quite ready to invite someone new into the family.
    I am now going into my first year of college and I cannot imagine my life without my new best friend. The first time I met my dad’s girlfriend Rachel we immediately clicked and throughout my high school years Rachel has been there for me in more ways than I could ever imagine and in ways my mom never was. My belief that everything happens for a reason has always been and always will be there even if there are times I doubt it.

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  28. Omotolani Oreofe

    There it was, our family reunion! My younger sister, my younger brother and I walked over to catch up and we were greeted with a family reunion right there in the middle of the terminal. We were finally here!
    Before we were allowed to step outside, my uncles and aunt unpacked some new clothing for us to go outside. It was the beginning of March in Boston and we had arrived on the coldest day that Boston had experienced that winter – it was 20 below zero with the wind chill. I couldn’t imagine that it would be “that bad” when we stepped outside that I would need this thick, heavy coat. I was wrong! When we stepped through the doors to the parking lot, I was hit with cold air and wind like I had never experienced before. I was in shock!
    Quickly the entire family gathered up our luggage and got us into the vehicles that would take us to our home for the months to follow. As I sat in my one of my uncles’ vehicles with my sister, I started out the window and said to myself, “I made it.” Thoughts of where I used to be and my destination roamed my mind. I knew that the opportunities that I would now have would allow me to achieve my wildest dreams. I just need to make the most of the experiences placed in front of me.

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  29. I have always believed in my family, and the impact they have on me. To me, family always comes first, no matter what the situation is. There have been numerous of times where I would fall and the people around to support me are my family. An invisible trust forms between our family that can never be broken. To me, it’s like an invisible safety net, far enough to give me a challenge, but close enough so when I fall it catches me. Family, to me, not only consists of my parents and siblings, but my friends and peers as well. The friends around me support me in my goals and aspirations, pushing me harder than I ever thought possible. They are the ones who cheer me on from the sides or are the ones who are always willing to listen. I have also found that I consider a couple of my dance teachers as a part of my family. When I show up to class every day, they are the ones who see the potential in me and push me until I finally achieve a goal I have been reaching for. They are even there for me when I’m at my lowest, and they help me climb out of it and to keep on trying until I succeed. Family is important to me. Whether its my mom or dad, brother or sister, or even friends and teachers, I know I’m not alone. I believe I can handle what life has to offer with my invisible safety net protecting me along the way.

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  30. Adam Seablom

    All my life, family has always been the most important thing to me. Under no circumstances has my family ever failed to support or be there for me. I’ll be playing basketball at Umass Dartmouth and my parents have been there to support me every step of the way. I’ve been playing basketball since I was in 3rd grade and they have been to just about every game or scrimmage since then. I can easily say my parents are my biggest supporters. Through the awful and best games they greeted me with the same smile and loving attitude after. From my sisters to my parents to my aunts and uncles and grandparents, each and every member of my family has been there for me to lean on in the good times and the bad. As I begin my college career, hands down the hardest thing I will every have to do is say goodbye to my family. 18 straight years with them and now, unfortunately it’s time to say goodbye and i’m not looking forward to it one bit. I have had some rough issues with friends and that has really taught me who to keep close and to never take anything for granted. I have had so much support from so many people in my family and I could never ask for anything different. Coming to a close, I’m going to make sure I spend the most time with my family as possible to close out the summer on a good note.

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  31. I believe family isn’t defined by who you share the same blood with, but by who shows up in your life at your lowest and loves you unconditionally. For me, family wasn’t a reality until I was two. I was born in China, and spent my first year and a half in an orphanage. At such a young age, I didn’t realize I was missing something. I was adopted in 2002 and I didn’t know it then, but my life would completely change. I was given a childhood, an education, and friends who I could call family. However, it wasn’t all easy. Growing up, I would often get stares and comments from people wondering why I didn’t look like the rest of my family, which would make me feel out of place. It took me quite some time to get over the fact that it didn’t matter how I looked, what mattered is that I was accepted. I don’t share the same blood with them, but I do share a lot of the same characteristics as my mom and dad. Ultimately, what it all comes down to is who’s standing by you in the face of hard times and showing you unconditional love. My family has become a role model for how I act and think and has helped me be ready for any obstacles in my way. And while we do go through rough patches, I know that without the selfless act of my parents and the sacrifices they made to make adopting me possible, my life could have turned out totally different then to where I am today.

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  32. Ever since I was in elementary school I’ve been looking forward to going to a college or university. My family has been a great help guiding me and trying their absolute best to provide me everything I need to be able to go to college especially because I am also one of the few members of my family to even consider college as the right place for them to be. The family members that I have that graduated college have been a great help and have inspired me to do my best in college. They’ve helped relax my parents and I about the application process and show us how to properly go about student loans. Another inspiration for me to go to college was my grandfather, my mother’s father, he’s always been excited to seen me go off to college, he was telling me since middle school how he’d love to see me walking the stage to get my degree, but sadly he passed away on April 6th 2017. He didn’t care what my major would be but he was proud of me for making the decision to go to college nonetheless, he won’t get to see me graduate college but I’ll sure be thinking of him when I’m up their receiving my degree. All of my family has been of great help when I’ve needed them the most for all of my life and they’re anxious to see what I can accomplish in the future with my college education. I can never fully repay my family for what they’ve done for me in the past but I can be there for them like they’ve always been for me.

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  33. Family is strongly overlooked in today’s society. It is the place where we learn most of our values and find a belonging. Without our families, we would not be the same people we grow up to become. Throughout history, the word “family” has carried many different meanings. Most people think of a family as a mother, father, and several children, but a family could be almost any group with similar characteristics or beliefs. Your best friends, the people who are on your sports team, your roommates, or even your coworkers could be considered your family to you. The significance of families is substantial. For example, imagine a world with no families. You are born into society from another person and then sent away to fend for yourself in an unpredictable world. You are alone without your parents, without your lifelong best friends that you call your brothers and sisters, and even without your aunts and uncles that you may only see on holidays but still love so much. How would you be able to survive? Would you have someone to guide you through the early years of your life until you are able to take care of yourself? A large percentage of children face these problems and have had to live through the struggle of growing up without a family. Whether or not some people wish that they were part of their family, they should nonetheless degrade the unmatched comfort and support that families may provide for many others. Understanding the importance of family should make them grateful, since many children may wish to have the family that they have.

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  34. Family is something most people shouldn’t take for granted I have been lucky that I still have both of my parents and that we still are a happy family but there will be ups and downs but you always have to look at the bright side of everything that happens. Sadly both of my parents went back to the country that they came from last year and it’s been hard because they came to the United States when I was little so I could have what they didn’t have, an education, a life where you can make a name for yourself. It’s been over a year and counting and no news about knowing if they are going to come back, but until then I’ve graduated something that made my parents very proud, they dropped out in the 4th grade to work and provide for there family and never had the chance to finish school.
    The first year of High School was a struggle but I’ve always had the support of my parents even though my dad didn’t really speak english and my mom knew some but not enough to help me on school work and I couldn’t keep going to my aunts house for support but slowly my grades started slumping and it was hard to keep them up I was very lucky that I didn’t stay back, but the start of sophomore year that’s when I realised if I want to be like my parents and work for the rest of my life I had to change. If family has taught me something don’t take them for granted there there to help and support no matter what argument that you have they are just looking out for you.

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    • This is really inspirational that you made the decision for yourself to work towards what type of life you want to have for yourself at a confusing time in high school. Having to go through high school without parental guidance must have been really difficult. Good for you for setting high goals for yourself.

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  35. I feel like my family is not like most families. Usually after that sentence there is an explanation about a tragedy that occurred within someone’s family; for example, a divorce or a death. Sadly, I think my family is “abnormal” because I do not have a tragedy to talk about. Thankfully, I still have my immediate family, and my parents are not divorced. I also have aunts, uncles and cousins who I am very close to and thankful for as well. However, I do not have any physical grandfathers. My father’s father passed away before I was even born, and my mother’s father passed away when I was around six years old. Although I miss both my grandfathers, I would not say any of their deaths were “tragic.” I never met my father’s father, and my mother’s father lived in the Azores, the only memories I have of him is from photos I’ve seen of us when he came here to visit. Their deaths caused the matriarchs in my family to step up. I see my grandmother as an independent, strong women, which can be rare because you don’t usually see typical Portuguese families being so accepting of female bosses.
    My mother is from the Azores and my father is from Brazil, because of where they grew up higher education wasn’t available for them. My mother finished grades equivalent to fifth grade, while my father had to choose work over school. This makes my cousins and I first generation college students. This college process and just school in general could get a little difficult because this was something that my sister and I had to figure out on our own. Although our parents tried to help us as best as they could, there are somethings that they just could not help us with. My parents don’t understand/know the little ins and outs we struggle through in regard to school. We have to navigate it ourselves and that helps us grow as individuals. Even though I do not have a “tragic” story to tell, I am thankful for my big Portuguese family and I value them and their background for shaping who I am today.

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    • I can totally relate Bryana, I also haven’t necessarily had a tragic event happen in my life and I am very grateful. The whole college process was difficult for me as well, since I also came from a family of Portuguese people with an education up to the fifth grade. We are so lucky that we are able to go to college and accomplish these goals for our parents and families. I really enjoyed reading your belief statement, great job!

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  36. A family isn’t two individuals and whatever offspring they may produce, nor is it the people who one may share a spiritual connection with. Rather, family is the embodiment of love, care, and support.
    I didn’t live under a “traditional” family structure, as I never knew my father and have no siblings. Despite my unique arrangement, my family has always been there for me, providing me with resources and opportunities I feel blessed to have had. For the first 16 years of my life, I lived in a quaint house on a quiet, safe street with my mother and grandmother, who raised me to be the young man I am today. Life seemed perfect and simple then. However, on November 1, 2015, a night I can remember horrifyingly well, my grandmother was finally torn from us by cancer, the infamous disease that had slowly been prying her away from us for months.
    I never knew until she passed, but she was the glue that held the family together. I still remember the fights her children would have throughout the week following her death. I was always close enough to hear, but never strong enough to stop the conflicts. My mother, aunts, and uncle could never seem to agree on anything. The house, photos, and heirlooms served to whet the knives of their arguments, cutting tears into the fabric of kinship they had built over their lives.
    As time went on, tensions subsided and relationships healed, and we all realized the same thing: family is forever. People are born and people die, but what really matters are the relationships we make between those two points. My family, through all its strains, have a unique form of unconditional love, sustained by strong beliefs and a proud history. Though we may bicker from time to time, we always come together in the end to support each other, care for each other, provide for each other, and above all, love each other.

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  37. My heart was racing, and my hands were sweating, as I stepped into that classroom. There was silence. I was the new girl from a different country. I thought it would be exciting moving to Brazil. I couldn’t wait to visit my family and enjoy my culture. When I got there, it wasn’t what I expected. Even though I grew up in a Brazilian household, with Brazilian traditions and customs, living in Brazil was different. I realized that at one point the country that seemed to be home for me, was completely strange. I spoke Portuguese with my parents, but the kids in class used to laugh at me because I had an accent. I thought I would never learn proper Portuguese.
    I came home from school one day and my mother was waiting for me at the door. She was excited. She knew I had been feeling down, so she took me out to the Brazilian center. We explored all kinds of little shops and restaurants. I had never felt more Brazilian before. I finally felt like I was home. Learning Portuguese was an important part of my life. My mother showed me that there was nothing to fear when faced with a new experience. I wouldn’t be here if not for my mother’s faith and perseverance. She knew that was the best way to help me be confident and strong. Today, I look back and realize not to let fear conquer me or let it hold me back.

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  38. Growing up in a household with two parents is a privilege. Growing up in a household where you had friends over and movie nights is a privilege. Having every toy or every game system you ever wanted as a kid is a privilege. Growing up I never had the fun and dreamy childhood most kids have where they wake up to breakfast or wake up to go to the zoo. I was never granted any of my wishes I made as a little boy sleeping in his bed with his race car themed comforter set. Growing up I had an abusive father who was never there for me and gave me nothing but empty promises and broken dreams. The only reason he tries to contact me now is for reasons such as lowering child support, or to tell me he is proud of how far I’ve come. Never having a father figure in my life growing up has affected me in multiple ways. I was never taught how to shave my face when I hit puberty, instead, I had to teach myself. I never had anyone to teach me the birds and bees of being with girls and going on dates. Rather I’ve had to learn myself. I never learned how to ride a bike, or get a job, or stay focused in school. I had to learn how to do all of these things myself. I had to teach myself how to become a man and how to become a hardworking and mature person at a very young age. Being able to have a family where everyone is happy and supportive is a privilege.

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  39. For me growing up, my family has always been really close. It made life much easier to know that I had people I could count on around me. My Dad constantly preached to my brother and I that we needed to keep our families close when we grow up and always be there for each other when we are needed. We made it a tradition that one sunday each month, we get together with our aunts and uncles and cousins and all share a dinner. I saw the benefits of keeping family close when I got my first job. I started building fences for a small fence company owned by a member of my extended family. Because we were such a close family, I was given a great opportunity to make money and learn a valuable trade. I also saw how a small, family owned business could not only help the family make money but also benefit the community that they are in. They started a father and sons business many years ago and stuck together through all the time and now build fences all over Cape Cod. These values are important because you can accomplish a lot when you have people with you that you trust. My belief in family has lead me to have a very close relationship with my brother Mason. We are both able to help each other in life because we each use our strengths to make up for each other’s weaknesses. This is why I believe in family so strongly, because I am thankful to have a group that supports each other.

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  40. In my life I believe that family is always the most important thing over money, or any other thing many people aspire before anything else. All of those other values people work hard to achieve is good to have in my opinion, but I believe that none of that would not mean a thing without my family. Growing up I was known as a “momma’s boy”, and that’s because I was always protective over my mother because she had given me life, shelter, food and has always supported me my entire life. So has my father, but a father-son relationship is always different than a son-mother relationship. Growing up, I got made fun of, because of my ethnicity (Puerto Rican), and I was used to getting called names, and I eventually learned to brush it off, until one day, a classmate started to talk about my mother. I was in 7th grade, and I remember I was filled with anger, because talking about me is one thing, but to talk about the woman who means the most to me is another, that I believe that no one should do. I was so angry, and that day I shared my experiences of what had happened with my family, and there is where I found out that family is what meant the most to me. This has shaped me, because with going away from my hometown’s school, I went to a trade school, so I quickly learned that friends come and go, but family is always there, no matter what you do. I am glad I learned that family meant the most to me in my life before I went to high school, or else I don’t think I would’ve made many friends, due to all of them being back in my hometown. I learned that friends will come and go, so I learned to accept that, and move on, and find new friends, while keeping some old ones, and keeping my family as close to me as possible, because that is what I believe is the most important thing in my life.

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    • The first sentence really struck me by saying that family is more important than money. I like how you ended it by repeating that family is the most important thing in your life. The experience you had in 7th grade sounded awful but it was good in the sense that it brought you closer to your family and made you realize how important family is.

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  41. I believe in family. My mom is my role model. She is my best friend that I can tell everything to. She listens to me and understands what i go through even if she hasn’t went through it. I don’t know what I would do without her. Whenever something good happens to me she’s the one that I want to be there to share that moment with me. I love her. She reminds me a lot of myself even though she is also very different. We have completely different interests but we get along so well, not including the “rare” occurrences where we argue at each other. She is my role model. I want to be a mother that loves her kids as much as my mother loves us. She sacrificed her life in Lebanon to give us a good life. She left her family: her mother, her father, and all of her sisters and brothers. She always thinks about us instead of thinking of herself. My mom stays up every night with my 3-11pm shifts and waits for me to come home so she can open the door for me. She stays up with me and makes sure I’m okay before going to bed herself. She goes out of her way to make me happy and is sad when I’m sad. My mother is the type of person that would make you smile because she’s always smiling. I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for her and I’m forever grateful to this woman.

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  42. Family, the one word that keeps me in this constant struggle we call life. Many people have succumbed to the brutal things that life throws at them. I, on the other hand, have not. See there is one thing that has me pushing every day, and this one thing is what I believe in, family.
    I am Hispanic, in my culture family is the most important thing. Many of you may be asking why is it so important, to be honest, I can’t give you their reason as to why it is so important. However, I can give you my reasons. The thing that showed me the importance of family is the fact no one has your back better than your family. On many occasions, I have learned the true meaning behind the phrase “blood is thicker than water.” I have seen throughout my life how my friends whom I thought were “family” turned their backs on me the second life sent trials and tribulations at us. My family, on the other hand, stuck by me through thick and thin and that showed me right then and there how important family is.
    Family to me is more than just a word to describe the people who birthed you and raised you. Family is a way of living for me. I live every day wondering how I can make my family successful and proud and how can I set myself up for success so that my family can thrive and be successful. This way of life is what I believe in, this one simplistic yet impactful word that is, FAMILY.

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    • I completely agree. Family is a group of people who will be there for your loudest laughs and also when you’re at your lowest. These are the people you think of when you can’t find a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Family is so important because we see parts of ourselves in them, and them in us.

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  43. Family, something that as a child, thought would always be there. My parents in my eyes could not get hurt they could not be taken away, because they were MY parents, bad stuff can not happen to my parents.Nothing can prepare an 11 year old for the confusion and anxiety that comes with the harsh reality of finding out one of your parents are battling a life threatening disease, let alone both parents. When I was 11 years old both of my parents had gotten diagnosed with cancer within a month of each other. My mother had thyroid cancer and my father had prostate cancer. My mother needed to have 2 surgeries to remove her thyroid. My father had to get treated through chemotherapy. Although both of my parents survived, the unsettling truth of realizing my family is not a promise is something I had to learn at a young age. Through all of that confusion and worrying about my parents I became incredibly grateful for both them being in my life. Anytime they go to the doctor for cancer screening the anxiety that it may return all comes flooding back in. Cancer is something many people think “it won’t happen to us” but it can and that is the cold truth.Family can be taken away from you at any time and they are not a guarantee. Family is not invincible and is not something to take for granted. This experience had opened my eyes to how delicate, important, and meaningful life really is.

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    • I cant say that I have ever felt what you felt especially that young but I know that felling of knowing that you might lose a loved one to cancer and its hard.

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  44. Often, the experiences in life that are most difficult are also the ones that make us stronger people. I believe that although it is heartbreaking, the loss of a loved one truly changes the way a person views life. About a year and a half ago my dad passed away after battling cancer for four years. Never in my whole life did I think something like this would happen. My dad was so healthy and strong before becoming sick. I never thought there would come a day that he wouldn’t be able to do any of the things he had been doing his whole life. Seeing my dad struggle through those four years was the absolute hardest thing I have experienced. Although going through that was extremely difficult, it shaped me into the person I am today. Things that I used to stress about are now things I am thankful for now. Losing my dad has shown me to appreciate life and to cherish every moment of it as much as I can. I have learned that family is the most important thing and to never take it for granted. I always try to see my loved ones whenever I have the chance, because I never know when the last time seeing them could be. I’ve learned to stay strong and always try to stay positive even through the hardest times because that’s exactly what my dad did. My dad has, and always will be my biggest inspiration and even though losing him was extremely hard, I will always keep him in my heart and think of him in everything I do.

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  45. I am flanked by both of my brothers, my father, and my closest cousin as tumultuous laughter is muffled by the roar of the ocean, as it chuckles along. My father and brothers, both rooted in generations far from childhood, could feel the nostalgic pull of lightheartedness. My cousin and I, both miles from the shore of adulthood, feel that same careless tide pull us over rocks as we all race to the end of jetty.
    There was a time I shut those same people out. A time where I cowered in the kitchen at family gatherings, when I promised myself they didn’t care and made myself smaller than a conversation before dinner. I was young, foolish, and couldn’t understand the depth of love that comes with a family tree accompanied by unbreakable roots, when I was one of the newest additions. I have always been the absolute youngest in my immediate family. An accident child dwarfed by two brothers, sixteen and thirteen years old, respectively at the time I was born. I let an age gap become physical and emotional distance between my cousins, brothers, and even my parents, when I shouldn’t have. So, I took initiative. Now, I am grown and basking in the light of love shared between myself and my family. I am blessed to hear cheering everytime I approach another success, and I can cheer on my family when they do the same. That kind of magic, is what I believe in.

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  46. Your state of mind, personality, attitude, friends, even where you are will change at some point in your life. People come and people go. The only constant you will find in your life is your family. These are the people that have been with you every step of the way, and they will always be there for you. Whether it’s your dad teaching you how to ride a bike, your mom doing everything she can to make you happy, your brother always being there to play catch, or your sister to play games with. When you are growing up, your family is what shapes you. The person I am today is all because of those who have been with me since day one. The more I think about how important my family is to me and how much they have helped me, it seems like I can never do enough to pay them back. I try not to pick fights with my family because they don’t deserve that. After everything they do for me, it would be disrespectful. All I can do is make sure that I am there for them, just like they are there for me. I would drop everything to help my family because I know they would do the same for me. As I become older and we begin to be apart, I will continue to live like they are right next to me. I am going to be the man they have always wanted me to be. I hope someday I will be lucky enough to raise my own family just like my family raised me.

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  47. I grew up with my mom, dad, sister, and brother until the age of three, when we lost my mother to breast cancer. I don’t remember much of anything about her but I have been able to paint a vivid picture of her in my mind from how people talk about the kindness and love she always projected. Her legacy influenced both my sister and I to be serious about raising money for breast cancer research, convincing others to support the cause and helping people with cancer currently.
    After my mother’s death, I had to get used to living in a single parent home with a father whose work forced him to travel a significant amount of the year. As more time passed, my older brother began to take on symptoms of OCD and major anxiety, which eventually led to a professional diagnosis of Schizophrenia. It was difficult to watch my brother struggle with something so serious and feel like there was nothing I could do to make him feel better. I felt helpless in every aspect. I did not know how to help my brother, and I did not know how to help my dad deal with this and all the other responsibilities he had. My brother’s condition took a lot out of my family emotionally and financially, as he needed constant therapy, many visits to the emergency room, and moves from one group home to the next.
    Years of overwhelming stress left my dad in an unstable place mentally, as he felt drained and what I assume was loneliness after losing his partner in life. My dad is my best friend and it was hard to watch him lose hope because of how our home life was going. At this point, I was spending many of my nights alone, as my dad was working out of town and my siblings had all moved away. I learned that plans changed. I was no longer living in a tight knit perfect family in which I imagined when I was younger. My life plans changed but this no longer bothers me as I am now able to see how it has shaped me.

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  48. Like most people throughout the world, my heritage has always been an enormous part of my life. My parents immigrated to the US a few years before I was born, but they never forgot about their home, England. This became clear to me as I grew up and realized how much English TV, music, and cultural norms my parents had shared with me. Throughout the years we’ve traveled back to England dozens of times, and while across the Atlantic we would visit other countries, such as France, Spain, and Italy. This may be the most important thing my parents have ever done for me, and it helped shape my core belief, travel is everything. From a young age I’ve had the privilege to see new places and indulge in new cultures. Not only do I think this can make someone a more well rounded individual, but it can also help prevent things such as racial and religious discrimination. Someone who is raised around people of various races is much more likely to be accepting than someone who’s Never left the small town they were born in. I think people are a lot less likely to be scared and hostile towards another race if they understand that races culture. Not only will it make you a more accepting person, I think it helps with education and introduces you to people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise. I am so grateful that my parents were able to share these amazing countries with me and take me with them on numerous adventures.

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  49. Families are the ones that raise you, you are molded by them. I came from a family of immigrants and as immigrants they had many dreams while coming over. As their child many of their hopes and dreams are passed onto me. As their child they wish for me to have a easy simple life. Over the years I have been told that education will make you go places. Coming from a different place and a different time, they didn’t get the same education that I got in America. Wishing the best for me they push you into college saying that if you graduate it will mean a comfy job. Wishing that I don’t have to do the hard work that they had to , to get to the place that we are currently. College is a dream for my parents and I am here to fulfill their dreams for me

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  50. Family is one of the most powerful things in the world, and definitely something that can impact you in both positive and negative ways. Growing up, I lost my grandfather at a young age because drugs took over his life. My two uncles have both struggled with addiction since they lost their father. Since I was about five years old, it was normal for the police to come to my house searching for my uncles. It has been normal my whole life for people to make comments, and judge me based on both of my uncles actions. All people say about them is that they should be dead, they are terrible people, and people often refer to them as “junkies”. Many times I had friends who were not allowed to hangout with me once their parents realized who I was related to. I know my uncles are both good people, drugs can change who you are, but whenever my uncles are clean for any period of time all they are is the most funny and caring people I have ever met. I have always defended my uncles when people say nasty things about them, and I always will. I do not defend the fact that they do drugs, but at this point in their life it is not a choice that they make, it is simply all that they know and to overcome it they need a lot of help. People often think they are better than people who use drugs, and that people on drugs are worthless. Drug addiction is not a choice but a disease, that many people in this world are fighting, with not much support at all. I believe that people need to be more supportive of drug addicts in helping them recover, rather than sitting there judging them for something that is far from their control. Growing up having to deal with my uncles being addicts and having people judge me and be rude to me just because I am related to people who are drug addicts has taught me many things. I have been aware of the reality of the world for awhile and it has made me more appreciative. Doing drugs once can change your life forever in such a negative way and lead you in a terrible direction in life. Seeing how drugs transformed my uncles from hardworking people, who had futures, to people who can not go a day without using has made me more motivated. Whether it is sports or school I will always work my hardest to make sure I am the most successful I can be.

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  51. Family can be an important asset in the success of your future. They can help assist in the way you perceive the world, in the way you determine hard work and how much they are able to help you achieve your dreams. I believe family is a small key to success. My only family consists of me and my father. It has always been the two of use since I can remember. My father has always supported me in his own ways. He’d listen to my struggles and never discouraged me to do something I enjoyed. He is the only stepping stone to my success. He has worked hard for so many years to be able to provide for us. His hard work never strayed no matter the situation he would find himself in. Viewing someone this hardworking made up a small part of my mindset. Hard work and determination can come a long way for a person. Giving up simply because something is difficult is never a solution. You should work hard until you find an answer. My family was able to provide for me, give me the necessities I need for achieving a great future without asking for anything back in return. A family can take you a long way, carry you on thier backs to give you the best they are able to give. A family is able to transform you into what you are today, they are your moral support and your number one fans waiting for your success.

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    • Everyone has their own definition of family. What makes someone family to you? Family to me is the people I can trust with anything and everything, is always there for me when I need them, and never having to question their loyalty. Family doesn’t have to be blood, because even blood can hurt you and betray you. That’s why family to me could be either friends or blood because friends could treat you a whole lot better than members in your family. In my case I was raised by single parent which was my mother and I honestly couldn’t thank her and my family so much for being there for me and continuing to be there for me, they helped me with so much and also the close friends I have who my mom consider as their own. Amy Poehler once said “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” My aunt read this quote to me the summer of 2014 and I remember this so much because I was entering my freshmen year of high school and everyone gets those scary thoughts about who will be there friend still, who won’t, etc. you’re friends are really a strong reflection of you and if you don’t believe, believe it because it’s honestly one of the honest quotes you’ll ever hear. I believe in my family because my family isn’t just my blood its my group of friends.

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      • Jordan, I really like your post! I agree, my friends have definitely been some of the most important people in my life and are like my family, too. Until this summer, I had forgotten exactly how I felt before ninth grade, so your message about family being the people we trust and spend our time with, whether they are blood or not, resonates with me now, since I’ll have to cope with not seeing them as often as I did in high school. Also, I love the quote you used!

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    • I love your blog post Cristalina! I enjoy reading about the relationship between you and your father because it reminds me of my own family. Throughout my entire life, my parents and siblings have constantly been my biggest supporters. They are the reason why I am devoted towards receiving a quality education and accomplishing my most crucial ambitions. Even though it is only your father in the picture, such a thing does not matter because he offers you all the support and love necessary to thrive. With your father by your side, you are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to (especially the challenge of college).

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    • Friends are people a person normally makes in their lives, depending on how they are meeting them. However, friends come ago by losing interest to them, personal issues, or by just not making an effort on getting to know them. This is why family is better than friends. The reasoning behind this is that friends are there for either fun and just to maybe talk about whatever, but family is forever. Family always has your back in situations no matter what and to always have someone to do fun events with. I would not be the man I am today if it was not for my family always supporting me, having my back, and doing fun events such as playing sports or just relaxing at home. I do have friends in my life that I do the same things with, but even then friends can leave you for whatever reason. I have a saying, with friends there is a 50 percent chance that they will either stay with you through tough times or fun times for the rest of your life, but with family there is a 100 percent chance that they will stay with you through tough times and fun times for the rest of your life. Other families might have conflict within their family for whatever reason, but with my family even if there is a problem we solve it as soon as possible so we can get back to normal and happy. We are not the perfect family, but we are happy with one another knowing that we will always be there for each other through any kind of situation that life will throw at us.

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      • I can relate to this post as my family has always had big arguments but we have always managed to stick together whereas an argument of such with a friend may never be resolved and ruin the relationship or the friend just doesn’t care enough to keep in touch with you while your family will always checking on you.

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    • Family is important in life to help you get through life. These are the people that know you the best because they most likely been with you since you were just a little one. So as we grow into adults it’s important to say in touch with family and always stay close to them. Family will always be there for you even though you may feel like some of them will turn your back on you, I guarantee that at least one of them will stick around. Family helps us grow into what we are today and what we believe in today no matter how similar or different you are to your family. But not all family are going to be relatives, family can be the people around you that you trust and grow with in your life. Family are people in your life that support you for what you are and what you believe. Families can be created all time where we go somewhere new, like college we come to something completely different from our original family at home and it’s time to move on, we create these new families that will help us go through this college or any tough times we go through. What I’m trying to say here is that family is important in life. Family is what everyone needs in life, it will guide people through issues or any problems mentally you might go through. Family has been important for me to get this opportunity to going into college and have a bright future. I believe that when each of us has a family and make this place feel like a family then each of us can have a great success and we can create a great future for our generation and our kids as they grow up with a new family as well. We can change the world by creating families and make everyone feel good and welcome when we are together. But we also have to make sure that we don’t cause any conflicts between each families because it’s ok to be different from each other but we have to make sure that we show the love and unity that comes with having a family.

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    • Success and family go together like peanut butter and jelly. Without family backing you success is accessible. However it is not as sweet as when you have family backing you.

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    • Great post Cristalina! Your family definitely is a key role in your success. Seeing my parents work as hard as they do to provide for my siblings and I, only drives me to work harder so they don’t have to. They are the ones who want you to succeed the most.

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  52. Growing up, I didn’t have many responsibilities at home, but that all changed when my mom got pregnant. I was eight when I got the news that I was going to have a little brother. I did not think I was prepared to take care of a little brother, but once he was born, I encouraged him to do the same activities I did when I was a child. Together, we watched the same shows I watched when I was his age, and I gave him my old toys to play with.

    However, early on, I realized there were a few things my brother did that were confusing to me. For example, he would repeat certain hand gestures that seemed unusual, and he struggled to do simple tasks. He would also use a lot of gibberish instead of actual words. I did not understand what all this meant until my mom told me that he has autism. I did not initially know what that meant either since I was only 10 years-old. My mom explained that it simply meant my brother was not the same as me. And yet, even though my brother was a bit different from me and my sister, my love for him did not change. I treated him the same as any other child, but I was also extra patient when it came to helping him understand basic tasks.

    Seeing my brother make progress made me happy, however, there were a few moments that were upsetting. Since he struggled to speak, he couldn’t really talk to any kids his age however later on he was able to socialized more and learned to use words.

    As I’ve gotten older, even though I feel like I am doing the right thing by caring for my brother, I have at times struggled in high school. At the start of 9th grade, I did not put a lot of effort into most of my classes. I failed quizzes because I didn’t bother to study or get help from the teacher to prepare in advance. When I showed my parents my grades, they were very disappointed with me and reminded me to be a good role model to my little brother. I realized they were right, and I told myself to work harder so that my brother and I could both have a bright future when we get older. My brother really needs a caretaker and will continue to need one in the future. I plan on taking care of him once my parents reach the age when they cannot anymore. I am happy to give him guidance as he grows up.
    Ever since freshman year, I have been improving my grades and continuing to think about my brother’s needs. When my teachers compliment my tenacity and effort in school, I tell them that I’m not doing this just for me: I’m doing it for my brother and parents too. I want to be the first in my family to go to college and turn my dream of becoming an engineer into a reality. This will help me support my brother and me. Love, more than anything else, motivates me to focus on my education and goals.

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    • Alexis, this is inspiring and very well written! I also have a little brother who is eight years younger than me. He can be a handful for my family sometimes, and I cannot begin to understand how tough your situation must be. The amount of responsibility and care you have for your brother is amazing.

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    • This is very good. It was good that you were ready to care for someone else when you were so young. Also, when you found out your brother was going to be different from most people, you stayed with him and it didn’t change your views on him. Being a role model and knowing you have to do better in school will be good examples for him.

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  53. When I was four-years-old, I went to the park with my mother every afternoon. I often noticed that many other children there had mothers and fathers, but I grew up with a single parent. It was just me and my mom in one small apartment in Somerville, Massachusetts. I never knew what a dad was when I was a small child because I did not have an experience seeing my mother and father together. They got divorced before I was born, and I have not seen much of my dad over the years. My mom had no one to babysit me, so she often took me with her to her job at the Somerville Hospital. In the hospital, I always got bored because there were no kids to play with. My mom often found me an empty office, a piece of paper, and a pencil so I could draw for fun. That was my first memory of creating art.
    I often cried and prayed for a second parent. However, over time, I learned to appreciate how well my mother raised me all on her own. She taught me to chase away nightmares and ignore children who bothered me by drawing pictures of my happiest thoughts. To this day, when I am not in a good mood, I get out my pencil and draw characters from movies, video games, or my own imagination. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, I draw what is in my head to work through my problems.
    I strive to be financially independent, and I hope to someday work for a gaming or animation company because of my love for art. My mom always encouraged me to dedicate myself to my interests, and I know if I work hard enough, I can become a graphic designer or an illustrator. That is why I believe drawing is my passion, and I have developed a lot of independence in how I improve my skills. Being raised by a single mom has helped me think creatively at all times and focus on my goals.

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    • This post is so relatable!! I also grew up without a father figure and was jealous of kids who had both parents. It literally sucks because when we are little, we automatically think we aren’t good enough. My mom was usually MIA but my brother played an important role in my life. Being raised by an older brother has demonstrated to me that it’s okay to only have that one special person in your life that has an impact on you.

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    • Bryant,
      So well written, I too grew up with only a single mother and barely a memory of my father. I relate to striving to be financially independent as I seen my mother struggle to do so herself. I went to a vocational high school and took Graphic Communications and Marketing which was the best decision of my high school career, it truly gives you an opportunity to express yourself in your own personal depiction. I wish you all of the best in your college years. Never stop chasing your dreams, the sky is the limit.

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    • Wow Bryant! your story is very inspiring. And also this makes me greatly appreciate the love and support that I have from both of my parents. And I really hope that one day you are become the graphic designer that you aspire to be. Keep doing what you are doing and good luck!

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    • Bryant this post was very in-depth and well written. I loved how you were very personal and how open you were with your writing.

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  54. I believe that serving and supporting family members in the service is one of the greatest honors you can do for your country. Many of my family members say that the days they spent serving in the military were some of the hardest days, but they were worthwhile in the long run. They made lasting relationships throughout the military branches. The members of my family all had great pride serving in the military. With that great pride came honor of the highest regard.
    Military family members are often overlooked but the truth is that they also require strength and perseverance. The family members of service men and women have to deal with the uncertainty of their loved one’s return. When they do make it home, they are not always the same person as when they left. Complications such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are real and sometimes debilitating. Living with someone who has PTSD is very difficult because the service member might have flashbacks to what he or she saw over there. They also could have a severe case of anxiety. There are a lot more symptoms than just the two I listed out. To have this happen to a love one and to not be able to do anything besides give them pills, it’s like being stabbed with a dull knife. I have seen my family members go through it. It was also one of the strongest things I have ever seen because to have someone go through that, be able to keep your family together is the one of the hardest things anyone has to do.

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  55. Growing up was difficult for me because of the type of household I was raised in. My parents were always off and on and my sister and I didn’t really get a say in the matter. We moved a lot, it was mainly from an apartment with my dad to my mom’s parent’s basement and then back again. To say it was hard would be an understatement. Although my parents had a toxic relationship, I have always received love and support from both sides of my family. Family has always been extremely important to me. Even though we are a little messed up I wouldn’t change my family for anything in the world. To me, family has always been more than just blood relatives. It has been, and always will be, the people that were there and still are there for me throughout the worst and best times in my life. Instead of calling school a “community”, I have always considered it to be my second home with my second family. When things got tough at home I could always count on the family at school to help me through it and vice versa. I personally believe in surrounding yourself with people who are genuinely kind-hearted and want you to succeed in life which is exactly what I try to do. My family has taught me to listen and be open to other people and their experiences as well as them doing the same for me. Without people there to count on, all you have is yourself and while I agree with that sometimes it’s good to be alone, I also believe that having other people in your life is a little better. I know that it may not be the same for others and I understand completely, but just based off my personal experiences this is what I believe. I’d like to think that I have a family in each of my communities and I cannot wait to start another one.

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    • jasmine my parents divorced and I thankfully never moved around as much as you did but I did move around a few times in my child hood. the same thing with my parents it was toxic and I also found school my second home and my friend my family that I could always trust since I had no family near me.

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      • Thank you so much for sharing. It can be hard when your parents separate no matter if they’re married or not so I understand you completely. You’ll always have this idea in your head of this perfect family and it hurts sometimes cause it’s not what you have but just take the good with the bad and focus on making it better.

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    • I resonate with what you have written. When I was younger it was only me and my dad through most of the time. He’d always have these partners that he would move in with but they never really worked to the point where I had to move schools almost every two years. It was never great because I never really had anyone that I can just spend time with and be with, but when I finally moved to a place where it was permanent just him and me, I was able to find comfort in the relationships I was able to make through these years.

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      • When my parents would fight and “break up” my dad would also find other women to be with so he wasn’t alone so I understand that part. I’m glad it ended up working out for you. Keep your head up!

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      • Thank you so much for sharing. I’m happy that everything worked out for you and that you and your siblings were shown that support and love that every child should be shown

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    • I totally understand this statement because I’ve kinda went through the same thing with my family. Family sets the bases of your support system. And it doesn’t even have to be blood family, just close friends can be family and have your back.

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  56. Support is necessary when achieving any dream. Without this support, it is extremely difficult to develop both physically and psychologically. In my own life, I have experienced multiple forms of support. Academically, teachers, classmates, and advisors have always pushed me to improve throughout all facets of my education by challenging me to succeed in difficult classes. In sports, especially in ice hockey, my coaches and teammates supported me and helped me to be able to play successfully and eventually be able to play at levels I thought I would never be able to play at. These support systems in both education and sports have certainly shaped me as a person, but they are not the most important support systems I have.
    There is no doubt that my family is my most important support system. It might sound cliché, but I truly believe that though friends and mentors may come and go throughout your life, family will always be there. I realize that I am blessed with the family that I have. They have supported me, not only through my academics and sports, but through times that can make or break a person. They’ve supported me through difficult decisions, such as selecting colleges and future career paths. They’ve supported me through both my darkest and brightest times. My family has helped me grow morally, in faith, and has taught me to truly care and be supportive to others. Without my family’s support, I would not be the person I am today.

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    • I 100% agree with this post. Without my family and friends helping and supporting me throughout my life I don’t know where I would be today

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      • I relate so much to this post because my family has always been by my side supporting me, and without them I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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  57. A question I often ask myself is: where would I be today without my family? Although I have come a long way from the nervous teenager I was walking into high school, I still find the world to be a very big and intimidating place. Being thrust into it right after high school makes me feel like a small minnow in the vast waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, my family is very supportive and always willing to help me when I need it. My parents have been preparing me for the adult world since, well, my conception. My father has shown me how to do everything from standing up for myself to demonstrating how to spend money wisely. My mother was instrumental in helping me get my first job and providing emotional support. Both of them are there to guide me in the right direction even when I have lost all hope of succeeding. My parents aren’t the only ones who are there for me. My brother is perhaps one of my closest companions of all, and I can always rely on him for a helping hand in any situation. He’s also willing to talk with me about anything at any time. Despite all of the help I have from everyone around me, I am still unsure of what lies ahead and what problems I will be facing. It’s hard to imagine that one day I will not have my parents to guide me, and I might not even have my brother to talk to. In the meantime, I will take the information and advice they provide me with, and use it to prepare myself for the many years I have ahead of me in the world without their help.

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    • I feel the same way with my parents. It’s pretty scary but what keeps me going is their undying love and support.

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  58. I would say I was blessed with a loving and amazing family. The majority of my childhood was spent with my cousins and closest family. The summers were the destination for all my cousins to hang out. We had wild imaginations and let lose in the perimeters of my yard. We left our bodies and traveled to the magical lands of our made up fantasy or favorite movie. Honestly, you could stick us in a tiny yard with nothing but rocks and we would make it work. Those were the times I envy to get back. But as everyone grows and matures, our interests diminish and we barley see each other anymore. I feel like I lost my family. I don’t understand how families drift apart from each other over time. Maybe its because the older my cousins and I get the less time we want to spend together, which causes smaller family gathering at Christmas’ or parties. I remember Christmas at my grandparents house use to be packed with family I barely see now. Partly because they had a tiny house so movement was limited, but those were the good times. Now Christmas at my grandparents is a dozen people tops. I believe family should always stick together no matter how hard life tries to tear them apart. Every since I was a little kid, I had a hard time making friends, but my family was always there for me. And now that they have drifted away, I feel like I am losing a part of myself. This gives me even more motivation in the future to keep my own family together forever.

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    • I can relate to this. I never had a very large family, but we used to be very close. I was especially close with my cousins. As we got older however, I saw less and less of them as their lives started to get really busy. I wish things could go back to the way they were.

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  59. I respect my parents so much. I look up to them. They have done so much and sacrificed so much for me and my sisters. My mom had her first child, my sister Amanda, when she was 20. She had to fend for herself and her new born child so she couldn’t go to college. My father met my mom when he was in his 4th out of 5 years of college at Wentworth. Amanda was 3 years old. My parents fell in love, then 1 year later my mom became pregnant with Lindsey. By that time my mom had gone back to school at Quinsigamond Community college and my dad was on his 5th year. They both ended up quitting school to raise Lindsey because now they had 2 children and needed a better job, they were in their early 20s. I can’t imagine being in their situation. My mom got a certificate as a medical secretary and every job she has had she hated. My dad went back to school online in 2003, University of Phoenix. I was 3 years old and my sisters were 9 and 13. He would work 40 hours a week, a 9 hour day, then come home and do his homework till midnight. He also went in on Saturdays for 5 hours. We really needed the money. We weren’t as fortunate as others. My cousins got to grow up with all the brand new toys and clothes and a big house and all the new technology. I had hand-me-downs. clothes, toys, everything. Id only get new things around Christmas when my grandparents bought them for me. They worked so hard to give us a good life, and it was. There were times the hot water would be shut off and the cable, the phone bill so we had no minutes. We were fine though because my parents made everything alright. We had gotten a pet in 2004. his name was Charlie, he was a chocolate lab. We recently put him down. These past 2 years have been extremely hard on our family. My mom and my grandmother got breast cancer, they found out a couple days apart. That’s when Charlie started going down hill. Many other things too including my mental health, I was going to therapy. Despite everything that has happened they keep a smile on their faces for us, go to work everyday, makes us dinner, support us. My parents are the strongest people I know. Someday I hope to be just like them.

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    • jay this story is very moving even thought I cant say I have been through what you have been through I can say that I to have gone through tough mental patches and my family has ben my rock.

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    • While I can’t say that I had it as bad as you did, I understand what you and your family went through. While I was transitioning into the fourth grade, my family couldn’t afford to keep paying our rent, along with food, school supplies, and other necessities. Because of this, we had to move in with my father’s parents in South Carolina. Life was bleak but throughout it all, my parents never gave up hope that we’d be back on our feet. I feel like you put a lot of thought into this essay, Jay, and it was obvious that you felt strongly about your past. Very well-written.

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  60. My family has always been my most important aspect of my life. From an early age my parents instilled in my the idea that family comes first and that we must care for each other no matter what. I have been extremely blessed to have grown up in a home that cares about each other in this way. I have three sisters (two older and one younger) and an older brother. Due to my larger family, my house mostly consists of shared bedrooms and it was usually difficult to find some privacy which pretty much forced us to get along. Somehow my parents managed to work full-time and part-time jobs, drive us to our Catholic elementary school 30 minutes away, make every sports game, school event, and concert and still have the patience to deal with five kids with different needs at home. I will forever be grateful for their millions of sacrifices and teachings which has allowed me to become the person I am today.

    Over time, as we have grown up and become more individualized, family time has become harder and harder to come by. In the past year, my oldest sister has gotten married and moved to Texas, and now each of us are at different colleges, high schools and jobs. This means we each have completely different schedules. Family dinner, something that meant so much to my parents, used to be an every day occurrence, but we haven’t eaten all together in over a year. It now seems almost too easy to find privacy in the only place I’ve called home. Although not having my whole family together has been difficult to get used to, it makes me appreciate my parents, brother and sisters even more when I do finally get to spend some time with them, especially as I move on to the next phase of my life living away from home for the first time.

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    • Chris, I could really relate to your post! Though my family isn’t as big as yours, mine was always very active. Our parents truly did sacrifice so much for us growing up, and supported us throughout all the sporting events, school events, etc. Like you, my parents taught me that family comes first. Sometimes we don’t even realize how thankful we are for them (and our siblings) until they aren’t always around.

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  61. For me, I believe that the biggest influence to the morals and values I have come from my family. All my life it has been instilled in me that no matter what you do with your life and try to achieve, you will always have your family to be your foundation. They have been there through my successes and during hard times. Even when things become difficult or near impossible to get through, your family will be there for you to fall back on. My parents and my younger sister, Jania, have always been there to push me and help me strive for better things: in school, work, or in the extracurricular activities I participated in. What helps me progress is the different ways they show their support and care for me.

    My mother is very hands-on, and she prefers to show her love through actions and physical gestures. She may not tell me how proud she is initially, but through a gift or warm embrace I know how she feels. She sets a good example with the things she has achieved thus far, such as working her way to become a R.N. while still maintaining a busy family. Her biggest lesson is working hard no matter what, even when you feel like nothing you do can get you out of the trouble you are in. Independence is something that you figure out along the way, but you should never be afraid to ask for help when needed. My dad has a different approach: he is very verybal about what I am doing right or wrong and prefers to have lengthy conversations filled with advice. At times it may seem unnecessary or boring, but ultimately I know that he is saying things that will help me in the future. Standing up for what you believe in is something my dad emphasizes almost daily: always hear the full story and make your decisions after you have heard all sides. He believes that making impulse decisions are rarely if ever effective, and taking time to reflection is important to your personal growth. Even though they have different ways of showing their affection, I know that they both love me wholeheartedly and the things they have taught are principles that I will carry with me through college and beyond.

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  62. I believe family is an important part of a person’s life. Families help bring happiness, courage, strength, and other emotions that build the route of your life. My family is the best i could ask for, everyone looks at me as a great accomplishment from my parents. From the struggle they seen them face while raising me at a young age, my mom and dad still worked there hardest to make me into what i am today, an eighteen year old graduate on her way to start college and complete what they were unable to to achieve for themselves and what there own siblings could not. My family always put the most pressure on me growing up to work hard and achieve the best i can in life so i did not have to witness what they did growing up, they wanted me to make a name for myself so i will never have to struggle like they have. My family is an important factor in my life, being the oldest child and grandchild i know i have to set an example for my siblings and cousins. To show them that even if our own parents were unable to accomplish anything that we will always have each other, and if i am able to graduate high school and be on my way to start college, that they will be able do the same. Families are an amazing piece of your life and i admire the work my family did, pushing me to do my best to help me pave the pathway so my younger siblings and cousins could follow.

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  63. My Family Rises

    Growing up, family meant everything to me. This value was tested when two years ago, my family went downhill. My parents would argue left and right, practically breaking us apart, and witnessing the poor side of my father made me question my love for him. As years went by, the relationship between my parents affected our family drastically when finally in 2018, they got divorced. I’m honestly happy that my mother went through with the divorce because their relationship was too unhealthy. As a result, my relationship with my father is very complicated, so I would have to say that I’m closer with my mother. I just wanted her to be happy, and leave all the negative energy in the past. In some ways, I am thankful for this hard time because I grew from it and it did not prevent me or the rest of my family from progressing in life. Look at me now, I’m a first generation student and my older brothers both graduated college. Currently, my eldest brother is following his dreams attending graduate school and working to become a Physician Assistant. Also, the other is working in an office in hopes of making it to the top in the financial industry. Then, you have my baby brother who is just elementary school, but I know that he has a bright future ahead of him. Last but not least there is me. I’m an incoming freshman and I’m hoping Umass Dartmouth provides me with the necessary resources and experiences that I need in order to be the most successful that I can be in the next four years and after. From my personal experiences and challenges that I have overcome within my family, I will use the perseverance and strength that I have obtained r to keep myself afloat in college when I am in tough positions.

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  64. Having a supporting family is a major asset in getting started in life, not matter what your goals and inhibitions are, they are always there to support you and give advice. I am extremely grateful that my parents have always been there for me and I know even if I had decided not to go to college they still would have guided me in the right direction. My parents have taught me alot that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. They taught me about respect, problem solving and the biggest of all was patience. Patience is something that I had really lacked if something didn’t work I would just get frustrated and give up. My dad taught me to work at a problem and keep a cool head until it was solved. I’ve always had a close relationship with my dad and it really molded me into the person I am today. Growing up he always used to work on his vehicles and he would bring me out and sit me down and have me watch and learn how to do it, from oil changes to motor swaps he would sit there patiently and show me how everything worked and what went wrong. This really stuck with me as I got older, and when I started doing my own little projects, I had gone from giving up to trying and failing and trying again until I had it figured out. When I look back I can realize how different my life would be if my parents had not been there for me, all the things I would not have done or learned. I truly believe that having a family behind you to support you in your journey through life is one of the greatest gifts.

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    • Joseph this message is so true for many people around the world. Those families work hard to help each other out to get through the hard times and everyone ends up happy in the end.

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  65. Family is one of the most important aspects of my life that has gotten me as far as I am today. Their support, love and encouragement push me to strive for better. My parents weren’t raised in such a privileged environment as I was and struggled for many years before getting to where they are now. They struggled and faced many hardships, as well as being from a third world country and learning to adjust to the new customs in America. My family always made sure my siblings and I had all the necessities to put us through school and even more than we ask for. As cliche as it may sound blood is thicker than water and no one could ever replace your family. I am grateful to have such amazing people in my life that want to see me succeed and will put anything aside to help me. I would gladly return the favors to see them happy and repay their favors to let them know I won’t ever let them down. Their guidance is what built my character as well as who I am today. I am proud to say that family has gotten me through many hardships that friends would have never even begun to understand. Not many people can say they have as reliable family as some which is why i can speak so highly of mine. My mother and father have sacrificed so much in their lives to put forth the needs of their kids and have turned down job opportunities to tend to us. My mother just recently had to get another job to support our finances which meant I had to babysit my brother on the weekends. This affected each of us in our household. My older brother worked long hours overnight at FedEx driving trucks which helped pitch in to our finances and helped my parents with their bills. We each found a way to help even if my parents did not ask. I’ve been working since the age of 16. I’ve always wanted to make my own money instead of having to ask my parents all the time. I hated feeling like a burden to them, especially when they did not have it. My parents had a hard time saying no to us which was another generous quality they carried. So I started to buy my own clothes and payed my phone bill just to relieve some stress off of them. It gave me independence and responsibility handling my own money and seeing how hard people have to work for the things they have. It taught me how to see things in the perspective of my parents and not to be so pesky for things I really did not need. Family has taught me to stick together through thick and thin. No matter how many arguments and petty fights you’ll always need each other and you only have each other.

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  66. You never know how much family means until they’re taken away… and given back.Till this day I can never imagine how 35 seconds could change one’s life so rapidly. You can only live one life and unfortunately, death can sweep you away in an instant. On Tuesday January 12, 2010 an earthquake of a magnitude of 7.0 hit Haiti . It is a moment I will never forget- I mean how can I forget a catastrophe? My country was in terrified chaos. After the earthquake, families were separated, most dead, others left in poverty. We all had one goal, to stay alive; Likewise, this included my situation because my parents were also taken away from me as well. As we were in search for them for three days with the help of other family members and neighbors a miracle happened. I found myself whimpering at the thought that I would never see them again but God had other plans. I just sense this, profoundly. I couldn’t bear the thought of having those most dearest taken away from me. (35 seconds) That’s how long the quake lasted, they say. But those who experienced it will never forget that eternity. Five sleepless nights later, a rescue flight carries us home Where we tried to survive with little that we had under a tent.This made me realize that you don’t know how much you love someone until they are fighting for their life just so they can live to see your face another day.

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  67. In my opinion family is everything. Without family or at least very close friends in your life that you consider family, I feel life is not the same. My family has been there for me through everything. They have helped shape who I am today, with out their love and support I wouldn’t be becoming the man I will be soon. Even though I have some family that won’t always be there for me, I know I have family that no matter the situation if I need them they’ll be there. I grew up looking up to my dad and older brother for support and advice when ever I needed it because they were always there. When I needed something I knew I could always go to one of them and they would know exactly what to do because they have been in my position already. In some ways I feel that they wanted to help me so I could do better than they did or reach higher goals then they strived for. I was lucky enough to grow up in a house hold with both my parents and an older and younger siblings. I fell blessed to say both my parents helped me a lot and without my family I wouldn’t be going to college this fall. I grew up knowing that I have my family I can fall back to every time something happened. Everything I do in life is for a purpose, I am living to better myself and to help my family. This is why I think family is everything because I strive to be like the older role models in my life.

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    • Antoine, I really enjoyed reading your post as it felt very relatable to my family. Although I did not grow up with both of my parents in the same household, I still feel like I can relate to majority of what you’re saying. I am extremely grateful for all the motivation and support my parents have blessed me with from my childhood until now. I hope your family continues to push you throughout your new academic journey!

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  68. As I sit and eat my fresh fig I think about what I believe in, and what makes me an individual apart from everyone else. I believe that everyone has a voice of their own, and I know how that sounds, it sounds like I’m ripping off martin Luther king or some other historical figure that fought for our rights. We have a culture we all represent, you can call it our heritage, my heritage is Salvadorian and Portuguese, all the time when I was asked what I am, I would say I’m Spanish and Portuguese because as incent as I was I didn’t realize the difference between both, now I know the difference, your heritage is where your ancestor’s come from, but we all are American, and that is a fact if you’re born in America you’re an American your roots may be different but if you live in America pay your taxes and be a function member of society you’re an American you are living the American dream and no one can take that away not trump not the government. Your voice is the one you make for yourself as your grow up. I believe no matter how diverse we are no matter where our roots, our ancestor’s may come from it doesn’t matter in the long run what matters is who you are at this point time, and what you make of yourself. My father is 55 years of age never had a day of school in his life but works his butt of for his family, which is what a true American is my mother is a saint she for giving my biological father for everything he did, she does the same for every new person she meets. I strive to be as caring as my parents are, but I also strive to do better than they did, have a better life than they did, and not have to work my body until it breaks. This is what we believe in and this is why we’re going to college to do better than our family did.

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  69. The thing that is very valuable to me is my trust I have with people or in them. I like to know that I can trust someone with my personal life and my most valuable things. But once you betray that trust with me you can’t really regain that same trust back, it won’t be the same anymore. This experience of my trust being broken has happened to me before about a year or two ago and since then has opened me to who is here for me and how I should view people. Now it takes me longer to build trust with someone new, I would test them to see if they are truly who they say they are and if they’re worthy enough for my trust. After hearing the news, I went through the day anxiously because I knew I was in trouble, but at the time I didn’t know what for. All I knew was that somethings were told about what I told this so-called friend in our PRIVATE conversation. So, I thought long and hard about what I could be in trouble for. I decided that I would ask the person who told people about me to find out what she heard and from whom. She told me that she was told this private information from the very person I trusted the information from. But when I went to ask mt “friend” if she told anybody about my business she said that she didn’t tell anybody. At that point I found out she wasn’t really my friend because she lied right to my face with no regret.If you find yourself in this situation you must isolate and distance yourself from that person until they realize what they are doing, and if they don’t you go do your own thing. Like people say, “friends come and go but family is forever”, if you have real friends that has built solid trust with you then they are not just friends but family. Ever since this experience I have learned that exact thing because giving people my trust so quickly didn’t work out in my case. Learning this lesson helped me find my true self because being with someone I trust brings out my true self. If I don’t have full trust with someone I don’t feel comfortable enough to be myself. I wouldn’t be comfortable enough to let loose, be crazy, and relaxed if I don’t trust you at that extent.

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  70. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve gotten along pretty well with my dad. Growing up he worked more than all of us in the family would have liked, but he always found a way to spend quality time with each of his children. I loved when he let me help him with whatever home improvement project was on his to-do list. Whether it was helping him cut some trees down or putting a pantry in the basement, I was always grateful to be able to spend time with him and learn valuable knowledge about home owning. I believe in my dad, because he taught me to believe in myself and be confident when I found it extremely difficult to do so. I went through some rough times at the end of elementary school and 6th grade. Due to my weight and the side effect of depression that came with it, I had a really hard time making friends and finding things to do. My father helped me discover my love for hockey and lacrosse and snowboarding. No matter what it was, he was there to help me and support me and assist me to be able to do the best that I could.
    I believe in Steve because he grew up under much more financial strain than I did. He did okay in high school but it was in college where he excelled. He had to find a way to pay for it though. Volunteering for the national reserve gave him the financial freedom to create a life for himself after going to school. Other than instructing me in ways to end up successful, he’s supported me through most major decisions, such as moving out of my moms house last summer. He allowed me to move in with him even though he is already supporting one of my older brothers as well. And even as busy as he was with work, he would always answer my call, day or night. When I was struggling after my car accident, he guided me with doctor appointments and phone calls and emails, trying to get me the absolute best treatment.
    I believe in Steve. When his parents were getting sicker and sicker and needed more attentive medical care, he was the one to make the calls and speak to the doctors. For years, he was the one on call for their medical needs as well as their personal needs. He gave up so much of his time and resources to take care and them and make sure that they got what they needed. I want to be able to take care of him the way that he took care of his parents.
    There isn’t much that I truly believe in. Not in God or in the “inner good” of humanity, but I believe in Steve.

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    • I greatly enjoyed reading your blog post. My dad is my inspiration too. His father died when he was 14 so he had to step up and be a father figure to his 7 siblings and has been a great model of how a man should act. Thanks for sharing!

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  71. If there was one thing in this world that I had to choose, it would be my family. Since a child family has been such a big part in my life. I’ve learned to cherish all the moments that are spent with my family, because those are the best moments. The laughs, jokes, and love that is shared is something that you can’t get anywhere else. I’m so grateful that I have a family that loves me unconditionally, no matter what. I may make some choices that are unlikable but my family allows me to make mistakes, and also learn from them. I know if I ever need anything, I can always go to my family. When things aren’t going so great my family makes everything better, with their encouraging words, or even just their love. I’m very appreciative for all the love that I receive, because I know there are some that don’t get any. And with that being said thats one thing that my has family taught me, is to love. Love others, because you never know what one may be going through. Without my family I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I know that sounds so cliche but its so true. With all the support and love that I receive its made me. I believe that you can’t go through life without family. Family isn’t just your blood, its people who you can count on when you need them, people who love you completely. So I thank my family, for always being there and guiding me. I now hope to take on everything that they’ve taught me and go on with life.

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  72. I grew up in a single parent household, where my mother played the roll of both parents. My father was around but we was never as involved as my mother was. My mother’s strength and determination is what always kept me going. She came to the US in the 1990’s where she stayed with some family friends, she worked full time until she was able to afford an apartment of her own. Not soon afterwards she met my father and had me.

    When I was about 7 or 8 years old my mom decided that she couldn’t just sit around with the same jobs that she’s been working. She decided that it was time for her to get her to go to school and change her life and my life for the better. A couple years after that my mom ended up pregnant with my baby sister and this was hard on her because it was just us, but this didn’t stop her from still going to school as early as 6am in the morning and going to work later that evening. Many obstacles came her way but she never gave up on going to school, she was determined to end her struggling and have a better life for her and her family.

    My mother is my number one inspiration because it just proves that if you really want something nothing that comes in your way will stop you from getting it. Had my mother gave up when all those obstacles came her way we wouldn’t be where we are right now. My mother is currently a nurse working at one of the top hospitals in MA and that is all because she never gave up when stuff got hard. This is what I carry with myself everyday, the determination and strength that my mom embedded in me and because of this I am determined to be successful.

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  73. Whenever there is a obstacle in life and i need a little help my family is always there for me. No matter what they are there to put there full effort in. This is why I really believe in my family. Either if I’m in the wrong or in the right they are always going to take my side. Growing up I always believed I had a perfect family but when I was 14 my parents told me and my two sisters they were getting a divorce. For them the marriage just didn’t click and they weren’t meant to be. Many good things ended up coming out of this. I have added 2 step parents, making both my parents happier than they could’ve made each other,4 stepsiblings, and my parents able to get along as friends because they aren’t together anymore. At the end of the day my family will always be there and even though my family isn’t as close as it used to be I know it is for the best.

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    • Hey Trevor, my belief piece was also about my family and how much mine means me. Your piece really spoke to me. I know parents splitting up after years of being together can be tough, but it was nice reading about how everything ended up happening for the better.

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  74. Parents are automatically given the responsibilities to protect, love, and provide for their kids but not all parents can live up to those standards. Money becomes an issue that leads parents to reconsider their decision whether or not to leave their family for their own benefit. Both of my parents had gambling issues where they often chose money over us, running away from their problems rather than fixing. From being a family to being sent to New York away from our parents, it was time to realize we will grow and learn from each other’s sides. I believe that older siblings are more than capable to take the role of a parent if they are willing to step up to the plate and make a change. We were always doing everyday things together like walking to school, playing video games, and make cleaning enjoyable by making it a competition. I remember when we were walking back home and a group of kids was teasing me for being Asian, but my brother didn’t care and told them off. I stood there shocked, he held my hand and we continued to walk home with the feeling of being protected. Matter of fact, we got a matching tattoo together to never forget where we came from and remember that us alone is family and that’s all we need. The life we grew up in, although it’s not what we planned, I’m grateful for the hard-living situations to be brought closer to my brother.

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  75. “Just finish high school and whatever you decide to do after that’s on you” is what my grandmother tells me. None of her children went to college so she didn’t expect me to either. Growing up with no expectations wasn’t the best experience but it was something I am used to. It took me some time to adjust to the fact that it was up to me to change the mindset my grandmother set for me. It was difficult for me as I started getting more serious about my life, I never had the support or encouragement to do things that would make me stronger. I never had the motivation to want to go farther than just high school. I never felt the need to do better in school. Being this young and realizing all of this hurts from time to time but I have expectations that I want to meet and goals in life that i want to succeed in.
    My freshman year was the hardest year in high school. I would walk around the halls and I never wanted to be in class. I would argue with my teachers when they would try to motivate me to be productive. I was acting out for things that I should have been able to control. I didn’t have the push to go or want to do new things and I always thought acting out would get me what I needed to accomplish things. It was a hard issue to overcome, but my sophomore year when I went to a new school I began to realize that I needed to change my behavior. Everyone was talking about college and SAT’s and I couldn’t relate to them because I never thought about going to college. I started to think more about it and I knew that I wanted to study medicine. Since I was in middle school, science was my favorite subject. When I found out that their was a way to find cure in helping others studying my favorite subject, I knew that medicine was the right fit.
    I am now a Senior in high school experiencing new things that I never saw myself doing just a few years ago. I never saw myself being more productive in and outside of school. I am having my poem published here at school for the chapbook where others can read it. I also have received Honor roll during the first term of my senior year. Since my Junior year I’ve been working to receive honor roll and joining as many programs as possible and I am accomplishing these goals. I am a student of a program called Urban Scholars that takes place at UMass Boston. I spent my summer attending that program where they helped me study for SAT and also they helped me with some college level classes. I’ve worked hard to earn the GPA I currently have and I am still working hard until I receive my diploma. It’s still not easy but I feel more confident on tasks that I come face to face with and I am also ready to face more challenges as I move on to college.
    My life has been difficult in so many ways but I know what I am capable of and I want everyone to see what I am capable of. Being treated the way I was taught me that no matter how hard things can be or how low family places your standards, you should never prove them right. My goal is to go to college to study Medical Laboratory Science and receive my PhD. I am just months away from starting that life goal. Knowing that my grandmother had low requirements for me and now I have a life goal that I am at the start of my accomplishing makes me feel gratified for the rest of my future journey.

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  76. What I believe has shaped me the most throughout my life is my family. Not only my actual family, but also my close friends. Although sometimes there are things that those who are close to me do wrong, it ends up turning a positive thing because teaches me what not to do, therefore turning me into a better person. Having two older brothers has given me a lot guidance through the typical hardships of life. They have been my two main role models in life and generally have taught me right from wrong when necessary. Having an absent definitive father figure has also heavily affected my outlook on life, and just my life in general. It created the need for my older brothers to step up to the plate and have a more authoritative role in my life. It also made my mom have the role as both parents. This made me very grateful for those who continued to be by my side throughout my life. My close friends have also in a way taught me right from wrong, they made me realize what in life was truly important and would make me accel in life both during school and after school. My friends also caused me to find out the type of person I am, and the type of person I wanted to turn out to be in the future as well. Both my family and close friends have thoroughly shaped me to be the person that I am today.

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  77. V’Pajek Vilfort

    I value many things in my life, but the best things are to ones that made me who I am now. I value my parents who went through the struggle of losing love ones or getting kick out the house. They move house to get were they are now in order to provide for me and my siblings so we won’t know such pain. I value to fact that my parent new how to discipline me to set on the path of good grades in school, not ok with C’s and D’s but wanted me to stride for A’s and B’s. My Parents were able to work hard to put through many years of expensive private school and were still able to stay up late to help me with my homework. I value the face that almost every summer my mother would spend 4 hours a day improving my math skills to the point of become somewhat of a specialty. My dad who I barely got to see during the weekdays would go out of his way to buy the stuff I needed for school. I value my aunt and uncle on my mother’s side for serving as mentors to me and my siblings. They also acted sort of as chill older sibling to me and my sister. I value the fact that if it was for these for figures in my life I probably wouldn’t have made it this far in the education part of my life.

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  78. Family, often seen as Fam(ily) in many Instagram posts, is such a strong word that has more than just a blood relation as it’s meaning. I believe my family has the biggest influence on my life. They are the people there for me through thick and thin, and many others would say my family is the center of my daily life. Families also help shape our beliefs and the way we see things in life. If you were raised to believe a certain idea or execute specific actions on a daily basis from childhood that will most likely stay with you until adulthood. From birth up until today my family members are my biggest supporters, show me love, and give outstanding advice, even when I believe otherwise. During your childhood they are the ones that teach you right from wrong which begins to become the biggest impact on your morals. My family is very large and we are extremely close. Growing up with a big family teaches you many things. The first thing to know is your cousins become more like friends. The next thing is you get to deal with dozens of personalities. I believe this helps with communication and building relationships with others. Family also teaches you how to appreciate the people in your life as they provide your daily security. Growing up with a single mother is one of the biggest reasons for my immense appreciation for family. She taught me how to be selfless, caring, and showed me what strength really is. No matter what my family has gone through we have always been there for each other and continue to be a great foundation for each other’s success.

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    • I can personally say growing up with a single mom has its advantages and disadvantages, but im glad I had the love of two parents come from one strong person. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it’s nice to know im not the only one.

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  79. I believe in the importance of family. Growing up in a household where your parents are seperated I’ve learned to accept both sides of my family and embrace them all differently. On my mother’s side they’ve taught me how to accept everyone for who they are. My mother personally has shown me how to forgive and forget no matter how hard it may seem to do. I’ve witnessed people, including family treat my mom terribly and watched her turn around and treat them with the utmost respect regardless of what they’ve done to her. On my father’s side I was taught how to understand my worth and love myself . From a young age, I was taught how I should be treated by all genders, men especially and how to never settle for less. My father’s side instilled this sense of worth on myself which helped me with all my relationships in life whether its with my friends or a romantic relationship. Having these two different backgrounds have helped mold me as an individual. These two backgrounds have taught me the importance of family and to be grateful that regardless of my parents relationship with one another, they have both taught me important lessons that will carry me through out life.

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  80. Growing up, I always had the support of my rather large Italian family. Every Saturday morning we would go to my grandfathers house, or “Giddoo”, to have a big breakfast with all of my cousins. We would all pack into his tiny kitchen and wait patiently while he cooked every one of us eggs just the way we liked them. On top of that we would make plates upon plates of sausage, bacon, and toast and gallons of orange juice. I never really understood how important these Saturday mornings were until I was older and these weekly get-togethers turned into monthly, then bimonthly, and now only every few months. As my Giddoo has gotten older, he’s stopped cooking and passed that duty onto some of my older cousins. Although now that we’ve all grown up, most of us are too busy to make it to breakfast. My family has always remained pretty tight knit even though we don’t see each other as often. Without them and their support I don’t feel like I would be where I am today. I wouldn’t be going to college with the hopes of moving onto medical school without them backing me and always making sure I am on the right track. Everybody has always motivated me to be my best and focus on what I need to, especially now that they tell everybody they meet that I am going to be a doctor. LOL so I can’t let them down now. My family has and will always be one of the most important aspects of my life and I will forever be thankful that I got so lucky to be stuck with all of their loud mouths.

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  81. Just like a lot of the student population at Umass Dartmouth . I am one who comes from a low income single parent household . My parents divorced a few months after me and my twin sisters birth .My dad cut all ties with my family shortly after the separation. Since that it’s just been my mother struggling to make do with what she has for her four children. Growing up I never really had much but I always appreciated everything I did have . My mother worked two jobs, went to school and raised her four daughters on her own. She still managed to not only provide us with what we needed but worked hard to get us what we wanted. I was raised in the projects of Everett but never felt as if I was from a low class family . I admire my mother for everything she has gone through to provide and raise me and my sisters . She has raised us to work hard for what we want and appreciate every little thing we already have . I am determined to make my mother proud. I am now the first of my family to be attending a four year university and I plan on progressing just as eagerly through my college experience and into my career.

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  82. My mom always reminded me, “You have to work very hard to stand on your own feet and chase your dreams so that you can become a woman with a vision.” My inspiration is my mom. She is the real superwoman in my life who provided me with a great childhood. Whenever I look into I could see the broken dreams in her tired eyes, I see the things she gave up and the things she sacrificed for me. I saw how my mom used to come home from work; she would look at me and tell me how poorly people treated her and if she followed her heart’s desires she would not be in this current situation. After that, I realized I have to be the first girl in my family to follow my dreams and go to college in America. My mom taught me to dream and told me to chase after it.

    My mom’s faith in myself made me realize to grasp my dream and work hard for it to create my very own passage. This taught me to believe in my dreams. To make dreams into reality I have to climb the stairs to success to prove to myself that I can overcome my failures and be successful. To do this I always have to believe in myself that I overcome all my struggles. I have to be resilient and self-confident in every situation to be successful.

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  83. Something I’ve always truly believed in is the value of family. My mother is my rock, she keeps me sane and prevents me from making any poor choices. My father has always been my comic relief and has always been someone to teach me life skills like riding a bike or tying my shoes. However, someone who has been truly important in my life and in growing up is my older brother. He has taught me not only the value in family, but the value of friendship. He has always pushed me to be the best I can be, whether that be in school or in anything else, I know I can always count on him for anything. Although in our middle school years and early high school years we didn’t really get along (as any siblings only a year apart in school would) but as we’ve gotten older, together we have found a true appreciation for each other, our family, and our own friendship as siblings. I truly believe I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without him, I don’t even know what a life without him would be like. Anyways, moral of my story is hug your parents tight, but hug your siblings tighter. They are the friend(s) you never knew you wanted and the only person in the world who really knows what it’s like to be brought up the way you were.

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    • I totally agree. You only get one family, and you don’t get to choose those people, but they’re there to support you in every way possible.

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    • I couldn’t agree with this more! I have two brothers and although I can’t imagine not having my parents, it’s even harder to imagine life without my brothers!

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    • I completely agree with you! Especially when you mentioned that you would not be the same today without your siblings because I feel the same way towards my father. He is my rock and not only would I not be here but I definitely would not be the same as he shaped me to be the way that I am today!

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    • Hi Julia, I enjoyed reading your belief statement. I agree that we should cherish our families. I too have siblings, and I can resonate that they are the friends that we can relate to the most.

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  84. Family is one of the most important aspects of life. To me family is everything, one day I hope to gain a family at school and one in the future. Every successful person has a family behind them, whether biological or not. The best sports teams have a family atmosphere around them, they all hold each other up, support one another give words of encouragement. On the teams that I have been apart of, the ones who showed the most success were the ones where everyone treated each other as a family. The people at our work places can also be our family. When you are feeling down you can also look upon those you call your brother’s or sister’s. In a new setting like this where things can be overwhelming and pretty stressful not only do you have the support of your family cheering you on at home, you also have your family at the school which you can create. With the new relationships you can build with others it would be as if you never left your family back home. In my life , I have always had a family wherever I went. At school my family were my teammates and close friends. My church family has helped me develop into the young man I am today, always guiding me on the right path. And then my family at home, even thought they can be a pain at times I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else in the world.

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    • I completely agree with how family can mean more than blood. I was the guitarist in a band for the past few years and every member of the 15 person band had a role in our rather dysfunctional family. But we all loved each other and brought different things to the group. Family doesn’t only mean blood; it means the ones you love.

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  85. The majority of my will to succeed and achieve greatness can primarily be derived from my family. Despite the situation we’re in, or challenges we endure, we go through it together, and that’s what family is all about.

    During high school, whilst discovering who I truly am, my family acted as the best support team possible. As a tennis player, the sport doesn’t generate nearly as much interest as sports such as basketball or football; however my family attended every tennis match of the season, both home and away. Not only can a family serve as your private cheerleaders, however they can also act as mentors. I can attribute nearly all of my tennis skill to my dad, as he introduced me to the sport.

    Aside from athletics, my family helped keep me on track throughout my academic career. My mother constantly brought me to school when I needed to attend extracurriculars or even pick me up from a regular school day. Even on days where I slept through my alarms, because we all do it, my mom would make sure I was dressed and on-time. Because I value academics highly, I am incredibly grateful their were people that attributed to my successes.

    I firmly believe that with the help of my family I can overcome any obstacle. Whatever challenges I face in my collegiate experience, I am thankful that I was born into such an amazing family, it is truly a blessing.

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  86. A family is the most important thing in someone’s life and it comes with plenty of benefits. Families are vital as a result of human beings cannot live solitary lives all the time. We would like others to support and to like America, while we have a tendency to love and support them in our flip. Whether or not you’re applying for a replacement job or simply obtaining over a troublesome breakup, there is no denying that it’s a lot easier after you have your family there to support you with their love and care. Your family can boost your shallowness, due to their unconditional love for you!
    Peer pressure might have a considerable impact on both teenagers and adults. Once people attempt to get other people to perform things that aren’t virtuously correct, they create a shot to penetrate the family values. This means, if someone possesses a powerful perception of what is correct and what is wrong because of the values they had been raised with, they are very unlikely to become sufferers of deviant influences.
    Family values have an effect on the selections people build each within the family structure and additionally outside. Deciding regarding crucial topics is difficult, and other people may feel helpless if they are uninformed that thanks to proceed. Therefore, having many robust family values aids people to make the right choices in life.
    Whether it is by providing you together with your initial steps in education (like learning to scan and write), or ingraining you with ethical values, your family will form your temperament and beliefs for several years ahead. Many people have said that the wise words and good advice from their family members helped to form them an improved soul.

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    • Hi Joao, I really like your statement. My family is very important to me as well & I believe with the help and motivation of my family I can do anything I put my mind to! Wonderful statement Joao, I like your writing style!!

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    • Hi Joao,
      I completely agree with this! My family is my top priority and it benefits me to be around them often, also. It’s a great feeling to be around people who love, support, and understand me. Whenever I feel as if I am drifting away from my values, I look to my family to help me regain them. I truly feel that being with my family is the best way to spend the little bit of free time I have.

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  87. Where do I start… There are many experiences that have shaped me to be the person you will meet here today. The experience that I want to share with you is family and not your ordinary type of family. Family that holds a great bond with you. Anyone can be family, they can be by blood or just friends or even pets. Family is a very important part of life because one needs to have someone there for them to stay strong, true to themselves, and succeed.
    I have a very few people who I consider family and can say openly that I love them deeply. I as a person think the word love isn’t a word to throw around. I say it only on special events to keep the meaning of it true to myself and the people around me. The family that I have created through my experiences have shaped me to be caring, passionate, and learn through failure.
    The value of having this family at my side helps me to be the person I truly am meant to be. A person who can dream of a bright future ahead, and not the person who use to think there was no future ahead. I believe this experience has shaped me throughout my life. I hope it continues to help me find the person I am, for the reason that I don’t know who I am yet and these are the steps to find that person.

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    • I really like you belief statement because it speaks to me. Also believe that the word love isn’t something you should say, just to say it and you saying that and sharing your experience makes me truly believe that your family as well as your friends or pets mean a lot to you. Thank you

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  88. I am privileged. Deeply, disgustingly privileged, because I was loved from the beginning. And not only loved, I was supported.
    Family means everything. They’re the first people you know. Family believes in you for everything that you are. Family loves you unconditionally. If someone makes mistakes, family always help and find ways to correct them. Family is always there for you. Family means everything. Family means, “no one gets left behind.”
    Personally, I didn’t grow up with a wealth family to support me. My family is considered, “low middle-class” in a Socioeconomic status, yet they tried their hardest to give me and my little brother everything. Coming from a family who didn’t finish high school and never went to college, they really didn’t want me nor my little brother growing up the same way they did. They kept encouraging to go to school, they wanted to see us go to college and be something. Be something better than what they have accomplished in life.
    Also growing up, being the one of oldest cousins in the family, I have a lot on my shoulders. Being role model for them too. Proving to not only to my cousins, but to my family that you can be whatever and whoever you want to be if you work hard. And my family is very proud and supportive of me to strive to be better. I would go to the moon and back from my family, and I believe they would do the same for me. Family means everything.

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    • Great post bro, I think it is great that you are setting an example for your younger family members. I enjoyed how you started off talking how your family lifted you up, and then got into how you want to do the same.

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  89. I believe that you need to take care of the people closest to you. I believe this because they’re the ones that take care of you when you’re younger. This is something that I learned when I was a child. My parents were always there for me whenever I needed them. My grandparents are also very close to me and I am very blessed for that. This is something I always knew and accepted because I want to be there for those who are there for me. I have a protective trait or instinct that I notice in myself where I always try to protect my whole family. I understand that not every family is as tight and close together but I was lucky enough to be born into a family that does everything together, from church on sunday mornings to dinner at night. I was raised by my grandmother and mother from when I was one to when I was five. Ever since I have been over protective of my family. Then I moved to the United States at the age of five and started living with my mom and my father. This was a tough transition for my family, but we were all there for each other during this time. When you feel down because you don’t know anyone and you feel like your not worth anything and no one wants to talk to you, you find out who your real supporters are. Your real friends and family come out during tough times. This belief motivates me immensely, everything I do I want to do to make my mom and my grandmother proud. I was raised by just my mom and grandmother because my father moved back to Brazil. I saw how difficult it was for them to support us between paying all the bills and having a steady job. I just want to help them back. They are both my role models and I love both of them a ton. These are only some out of the many reasons why I believe that you need to take care of your family and real friends. The people closest to you who really love you.

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  90. As I get older, I find myself wishing I could go back in time and relive my past with the knowledge I have now. I would have known not to take my life for granted and appreciated some of the people and things that were part of it more. I really believe gratitude is an important part of being human. Unfortunately I was not aware of this until I lost someone who was more important to me than I ever realized. When my grandmother passed away three years ago, my whole perspective of life was flipped. Being young and selfish, I didn’t sit down and talk with her more and now that is all I wish I could do. She was a strong spirit that came from a poor family of 9 siblings with no parents, but instead of settling she made something of herself and created a great life for her family. No matter what cards life deals you, you can always better yourself. There is always someone who has it worse, so I try to consider them when I forget about the opportunities I have been given. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of my grandmother and regret not telling her how thankful I was for everything she did for me. She opened my eyes to the fact that not everyone is as lucky as I am and also that I should recognize the good things in life while they are here. So I believe in the importance of family and how if you don’t show acknowledgement to them, you might have regret when you are no longer able to.

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  91. To me, family is important. They know you like the back of their hands even when you try to keep as many secrets from them as you can. Growing with fighting birth parent and a stepdad who you barely talk to makes you realize the wrong from the rights and it enlightened me and convinced me that this isn’t what a family should be. Thanks to the people around me I realized that family isn’t just about blood. It’s not just the people who share the same DNA as you. Family is something that define the people who are around us. My family is my friends. Throughout my year in middle school and in high school I have grown to make a lot of friends, close friends who got my back no matter the cost, friends that come to me for help and can trust me with their secrets, friends you can share a bond with and truly feel like yourself. These friends have become my family. Losing them would be costly because they are a part of who I am. They are a huge part of my growth and helped me find my weaknesses. This family keeps me going no matter what I go through and knowing that I have this family makes me feel like I am floating on air. Their support is like a bridge of hands that guide me towards success, towards understanding and peace. True friends tell you what you don’t want to hear and what you need to hear and I believe that everyone deserves that one friend or group of friends that allows them to be themselves. I know my family is out there giving their all and I believe that one day we finally get to see each other again.

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  92. The four of us arrived at the carnival. The scent of popcorn and grilling burgers steers us to our left, “Hot Food’ is printed on top of the stand. Between popping balloons and shooting balls into baskets, the idea up of getting on a roller coaster comes up. Due to my distrust of carnival rides, it was previously established that we would not ride one. Nonetheless, we purchased our tickets and went in line. The man at the front settled us in our places. We drew the metal hindrance down and the ride began. Fewer than five seconds in, a feeling of immediate regret grows through me, and the same for the others instantly also. The ride picks up momentum, traveling uphill first then jostling us left and right. Beside me, my sister is screeching, demanding for it to stop. We have been riding for what it feels like 20 minutes and it becomes dreadful.
    Finally, after the 3 minutes, the ride is over and we are back on the ground safely. We are all laughing, glad we survived.
    On our way out, we are shown the photo taken of us during our ride.
    Now, months later talking of about the photo, we laugh at it for minutes. It is of us with eyes shut closed and hands with a death grip on the bar, mouth opened and screaming. It allows me to recognize how valuable it is to remove myself from what I am comfortable with and face fears in order to make special moments with people that matter. After all, we have to depend a lot on our memories so it is vital that these moments of family, to me, are ones that when I look back at them I can smile and laugh.

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  93. Life is full of challenges and we all experienced some in different ways. Growing up I encountered a lot of them and they impacted my childhood for the better.
    “For now the only thing I’m expecting from you and the only way you can make me proud is by getting good grades and keeping your manners”: said my dad when I asked him in my younger days what could make him proud of me. As a child the only thing you actually want is to make your parents proud that is why I always kept on getting good grades and staying out of trouble. But one year my grades weren’t as satisfying as they used to be until the day I saw disappointment in my dad’s eyes.
    Ashamed is how I felt, it has been hard for me to get back on trail but I lived up to this: “What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” -Napoleon Hill. Visualization is the technique of seeing an image of yourself that you are proud of, in your own mind. Therefore I practiced visualizing a fantastic version of myself everyday , achieving my goals.
    The day of my graduation just before I leave for the ceremony my mom calls me, watches me and hugs me, in her eyes I could see how proud she is since I achieved my school years in such a great manner. I could never feel any prouder than this.
    I believe that a child who does not surpass his parents without making them proud failed.

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  94. My older brother and I were homeschooled our entire lives prior to High School. This led to us being very close siblings even though he is two years older than me. I believe being homeschooled made me value family and especially siblings much more than most people. I have many friends that aren’t close to their siblings and that saddens me because I have such a strong bond with my brother. Sometimes siblings aren’t just distant from one another, but actually do not even like each other which is unimaginable to me. My brother is someone I can talk to about anything, we both know each other like the back of our hands. We have always been best friends since we were little kids. We did everything together, from playing sports to riding bikes. When we went to high school we both were in the same grade because I skipped the 2nd grade. At the beginning of school, we both made friends with different people and somewhat drifted apart. He got a girlfriend and spent most of his time with her, we didn’t hang out as often as we used to. Then once we became upperclassmen everything changed, my brother had his license and we both became closer with each others groups of friends. This reignited our friendship and we’ve stayed close ever since. I really think that us being homeschooled made our friendship what it is today. Being together every day made our bond something that many siblings don’t have. Now we are both attending college at Umass Dartmouth and I cannot wait for the experiences we will share together and what is to come of our future.

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  95. The power is advocacy is often overlooked. It is a value that is capable of life-changing extremes and can even be the difference between life and death. I can relay this from the deepest depths of my heart because of one strong woman who changed my life forever.

    On May 17, 2018 at 4:42pm I was laying on a hospital bed surrounded by doctors, nurses, Anesthesiologists, and more. Today was supposed to be the happiest day of my life surrounded by supporting friends and family members with lots of excitement for what was to come- and it was. But this wasn’t the kind of excitement I was hoping for. When I arrived at the hospital that morning I was 40 weeks, 2 days pregnant with a beautiful baby girl. She was a miracle following three tragic ectopic pregnancies, numerous visits to doctors who told me I was unable to successfully carry a child, and a whole lot of faith. I went to the hospital that morning for a planned non-stress test to check the vitals of my baby. Shortly after being hooked up to monitors at 9am, multiple doctors and nurses were whispering outside of my room. The nurse came back in my room and told me to call my family because my baby was arriving shortly. I couldn’t help but wonder what all the whispering was about or why she thought my baby was coming so soon. Though I had never been in labor before, this seemed nothing like the movies portrayed. I wasn’t in pain, I felt no contractions, and I really just felt plain pregnant. Despite being genuinely afraid to know the answer, I asked my nurse if everything was okay. She just smiled and told me that the baby was ready to meet me, but I could hear her hesitation and I knew something was really wrong.

    I was put on Pitocin to induce labor for thirty minutes before the first time my monitors set an alarm off. The nurse came charging in my room and rotated me on my side. Ten minutes later the alarm went off again. She switched me to my other side. This went on for six hours. I wasn’t allowed to walk or rotate myself. I had to lay perfectly still. Throughout those six hours they discontinued and restarted the Pitocin three times. With every contraction I had, my baby’s heart rate was dropping down to 50-80 beats per minute. At the end of the six hours, the doctor came in and told me they were going to start me on Pitocin again to see how the baby did. I remember laying there crying in fear. My nurse came in and sat my on my bed. She told me she wasn’t going to let them do this again and that she thought it was dangerous for me to go through natural labor given the circumstances. Five minutes later she and the doctor were arguing in the hallway. She was pushing for me to have a c-section and told him that she wouldn’t take part in a natural birth. I kept hearing her say “it’s too dangerous”. Finally, they came back in the room together and she grabbed the ten foot long paper that had been recording my contractions and my daughter’s heart rate. They left the room with the paper and shortly after the doctor came in to tell me I was going to have a cesarean birth.

    Fast forward to 5:58pm. My healthy, beautiful 8lb 6.4oz baby girl took her first breath. The second they pulled her away from my body, our nurse looked at the doctor and said “I told you something was wrong”. My daughter was born with a true knot in her umbilical cord. Every contraction I had was pushing her down the birth canal and tightening the cord more and more. Had I given birth naturally, the cord would have tightened enough to cut off all of her blood supply and if she even made it, she would have suffered from brain damage.

    0.1% of babies are born with a true knot in their umbilical cord. It took the strength and advocacy of just one nurse to stand up to a doctor who was risking a little too much to save my daughter’s life. Three and a half months later I’ve found myself enrolled in the nursing program at UMass Dartmouth in an effort to become a well-educated advocate and future neonatal nurse. I still wonder if that woman knows how much she changed my life. If I ever saw her again I would thank her for finally helping us fill the once-lonely bedroom upstairs with a little girl, but most importantly for understanding one of the most important pieces of being a nurse- the power of advocacy.

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  96. Something that has always been a constant for me, and I hope stays that way would be family. Whether that be immediate or extended, they are important to me. That value was instilled in me from a young age. Looking back on my past, some may become a little surprised by this since how constant my family was moving in my early years. Then again, I do have a big family. What I learned from this big family is valuing others. No matter the situation my parents always let our cousins, as well as, other family members live with us if there was no other place for them to go. It could have been many years since I seen them, or I only seen them at holiday get togethers here and there. There is just a high level of love shown between each other where I am from. I remember when I was around the age of eight or nine, and my uncle taught me a thing or two. For the most part it usually be fun facts or trivial knowledge that a person could look up. One day it got switched up a little bit, he was walking me home from school. If I remember right he was just asking about how my brothers were doing. Then I said something along the lines of being upset about being the youngest. Then I said I hated my middle brother. He stopped me and taught me a thing about love. He said love between family, especially siblings, should be unconditional. No price or rule should placed between your own flesh and blood, and I have carried as a mantra.

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  97. Both my parents are Haitian immigrants and for a while, I didn’t embrace it as much as I should’ve because of the stereotypes that go with it. Many people believe that since there are poor living situations in Haiti, then it follows you everywhere you go. But that’s not the case for many immigrant families and that includes mine. My mom likes to talk a lot about what her life was like back in Haiti, and I was never really interested in hearing it and neither were my siblings. This story that she told me a couple years ago, however, changed my perspective. Looking back at this situation, I didn’t realize how ignorant I was. I didn’t know much about my mother’s life or what her life was like in Haiti and I never even bothered to ask. I grew up thinking everyone was like me, and that they went to school, had a home and both of their parents. Now that I know that’s not the case, I understand why my parents think that education is highly valuable. I’ve learned to appreciate the resources and opportunities I have. Learning about my family and their situations back in Haiti has had a big impact on the way I do things now. This is why I choose to believe in family because their stories/lives have the power influence you and change the perspectives of others. I never listened to my mother’s stories, but since then I’ve listened to all that she has to say.

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  98. Family is an important part of life. depending on the family and the surroundings will influence you as a person as you grown and become older. growing up the child will probably want to follow in either their mother’s or their father’s footsteps and be just like them. personally when i was growing up i wanted to be just like my dad. my dad was in the national guard and he was deployed over seas to iraq twice once in 2003 when i was three years old and the second time in 2007 when i was seven. over seas deployment are normally about a year so therefore my dad had been gone for 2 years of my life out in a country fighting in a war that i believe we should never been part of. both times he returned home i was so thankful he made it home safe and i admired him i wanted to be just like him. more into the teen years of a person’s life things start to get confusing on what he or she thinks of their family they try to avoid contact with them and try to be rebellious at every instance they can. nearing the years of young adulthood goes back to admiring their parents and try to talk to them more before they go away for college or move away before they seem or hear from them less frequently. I believe that everyone goes through similar set of experiences with their parents and its something that help every child grow as an individual.

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  99. I feel like I’m drowning in my own emotions. The mind is such a dangerous place no matter what. The negativity is all around me. It so hard to put on a smile on a smile on my face. Everyone knows me for my upbeat mood and my bright spirit. No one understand how much I hurt on the inside. The pressure I feel from my family is too much. Being compared to your siblings is just discouraging. The hopeless emotion of sadness keeps getting stronger. I’ll never be good enough for myself or the one person I want the approval from. Growing up I was so happy but as I grew up it just never felt like I couldn’t be anything. Always thinking of what if I wasn’t here. Being the youngest might be good for other kids but for me it wasn’t; I never wanted all the materialistic things. All I wanted was for someone to care and to love me. To not judge me for everything I do. Words hurt more than anything. It can either make you or break you into little tiny pieces.
    This I believe that a parent can’t buy you things and expect you to just feel happy about all of it. Love and support is key. Don’t let your emotions control you cause it will break you. The feeling of anxiety can suffocate you. The way depression can control you isn’t a joke and no one should have you deal with it.

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  100. I believe that it’s OK to have a single mom.Nowadays people putting too much emphasis on having two parents in the Household .And now not appreciating the single moms out there working day-and-night for there’s kids . For example my Mom Used to work two jobs A day to support me and when she had my little brother she work harder and harder Everyday to get a better job so she can support both of us while cooking cleaning and making up money for the house .Because of this she makes me want to work harder everyday because she fights everyday and night for me and why shouldn’t I do the same thing to her .While I’m not saying Having 2 parents is a bad thing Why is have any single parent such a bad thingAlmost seem like they look down on them like they not as good as two parent household. So I believe that Single Parents deserve more love out here .

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  101. For the past 7 years I have witnessed first hand as my little brother and sister grow up and learn together from just babies to their first days of Elementary School. In a way I have also been given a glimpse into my childhood by watching my parents set the foundation for their future success through their influence and lessons. Little did I know at the time of the birth of my younger siblings that I would also be learning a lot about myself and the world along with them. I began to see in new light the past good and bad decisions I have made and the influence my parents and family had on me to make those decisions. As well as the times that I have ignored their advice and the negative effects its had on me. In a way I have now made it my duty to serve as another parental figure in their life to teach them from my mistakes and to guide them in the right direction such as my parents do. This entire experience has made me more appreciative of family and my parents in general.

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  102. “ I did everything I could getting you here, and now it’s your turn to decide what you want to do with your new life.” While a majority of people have chosen a fiction character to be their hero me, I chose my father . His hero name is Mighty Dad and his superpowers are love, a warm heart, supportive, and fun to be around. He has all the characteristics to be the best superhero ever. In the darkest days where there’s no light, no hope he would always find a way to save the day. My first memories of my dad are vague, I can only remember small pieces of the memory. I was about three to four years old at the time when he left our home country Haiti. I remember him coming back from a soccer games.I guess he won the game because he was smiling, and i automatic trust cause of his smile and then he called my name “Rivaldo!” picked me up from the floor. He was saying something but I can’t remember what he was saying. He came to the US work very hard to get me and my siblings in the US too to have a better future life was going splendid, but in life everything you do have consequences. His working too hard and under pressure provoked depression.
    Living in the United States was difficult for me and my siblings at first, because we didn’t know the language. We felt like we were outcasts coming from another land, however, my dad always said “ this will get better in the near future and don’t forget you guys have each other.” After a short while, we managed to learn English we learned by helping each other. My siblings and I are like peas in pod. After we felt comfortable enough, we started to make friends, life was splendid despite the fact our financial weren’t substantial but we made the best of life. For me, my dad’s cooking was the best thing I’ve experienced in this
    Country. When he’s cooking ,he takes his time to prepare the food with a passion because that’s what he does for living. He used to work in a restaurant so he consistently practiced his cooking skills. As we settled down in the US, the future seemed hopeful and full of opportunities until my dad’s character started to change not for the best but for the worst. The smiling and caring dad we once knew turned into an unhappy and cold father who smiled less and acted strangely. Living with a depressed father was not easy. But we still manage to got each other back always stayed together because of that experience our family bond became stronger than ever.

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