119 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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  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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    • 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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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