My father raised me to know how to do things and know how to provide for the family. He instilled in me hard work, great judgement, not to judge anybody, and overall to just be a well-rounded person. He taught me to be outgoing and try new things.
My mother is a little bit different. She’s like a sister to me. She taught me just to be happy. She taught me how to learn my culture and be strong. She taught me that things in life are going to happen and I just have to learn how to react. Also things like emotional control, keeping the family close, loving one another, and judging someone based on their heart not how they look. Overall, there were a lot of Christian values as well and a lot of cultural values taught from both sides. Some things we had to adapt to because we are in America. We had to mellow down a bit because we were in American school systems and American society. They taught us to assimilate.
My grandfather is a lot like my father. He traveled the world a lot all through Europe, the Pacific, and Asia. He taught me that people are always going to have different ways of doing things, but everyone is going to come out with the same product. They are just approaching it in different ways. He taught me to see things not just through my lenses, but through someone else's eyes. My grandfather always said, “You have two ears and one mouth. I feel like you should listen more than you speak.” That’s one of the things I live by and it brought me a long way.
The same thing with my father. He taught me that if you do something, even if you mess up give it 100%.
My 10th grade history teacher taught me the real meaning of hard work. Each day I would come back from class making excuses like, “I have football practice, I’m sore, I’m tired, and I have to do all this homework.” It wasn't until I kept doing the homework, I kept talking and listening that I realized he did this for a reason. He would say, “ I see something in you so I am going to push you as hard as I can.” I took that to heart and I still appreciate what he did now.
A belief I hold is that with great peace comes great sacrifice. With great wins comes great loss. I feel like, at times, to be able to grow you must let go. Coming to America, we had to let go of some traditions to be able to grow, to be able to create something new, and to be able to adapt. The little loss of old things that we need to break away from can cause growth. If you love it, let it go because you got to grow. That apple might fall off the tree, but that apple throws a seed on the ground, and from that seed you create the tree. Even if you feel like you’re losing, you are gaining something.
You don’t have to focus on the negativity. We can figure out a way to get through it and go around it. When you stay with the good, you don’t even remember what’s been bad. Growing up in my culture, we don’t see death as a loss. We see it as a gain for new life because once the body falls, it creates a new life. It fertilizes the soil for new life to grow. That’s how we’ve got to look at things. We can’t control that because it’s life. What we can control is our emotions. What we can control is how we view those emotions, what we put those emotions to, and what we put our frustrations to. A lot of people put their frustration towards destruction. I feel like if you put that energy that you get from being frustrated or being angry towards something positive, it can turn into something gold. You can make something of it.