The most influential person in my life is probably not even aware of the things he has taught me or of how much he has affected my existence.
This person has always been in my life, from the day I first opened my eyes to the present moment. This person is a teacher, a guide, and a source of strength and support. He is whom I look up to with loving trust and pride. With a willing hand to lend, he is a helper, an adviser and my partner in crime. He showed me the stars and taught me how to reach them. This person means the world to me, so who is this influential person in my life? He is my one and only father.
My father acquired his life lessons by overcoming the adversities he faced growing up in Saigon, Vietnam. Education costs money in Vietnam, and there are no such things as public schools. My father is one of eight children in his family; therefore, my grandparents could not afford to provide a full education for all of their children. However, he was fortunate enough to reach high school but never graduated due to financial setbacks. Not being able to obtain a full education has hindered him in his life. Because of this, he understands how important education is in order to succeed in life.
In the summer of 1991, my whole family and I immigrated to the United States in hopes of a better life. My hardships are nothing compared to the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I am today.
Here, in America, my family faced yet another obstacle. They did not speak a word of English and had no financial support. Despite this, they were able to find jobs and worked hard to pay for rent and food. I watched my dad come home after working 12 hours a day. My father always provided me with the necessities in life: food, clothing, shelter, and so much more. He sacrificed himself so I can have more than he ever had. He has given me so much, including the most important thing in the world: all of his love.
He came here uneducated and unable to speak the language, yet he has taught me all I needed to know about determination and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.
I have always felt that my parents could have been successful in Vietnam, but they moved to a foreign country for the sake of my education. From the first day of kindergarten to this very day, he reminds me to always “work hard at my studies.” This is why I strive to do well in school. My dad not only influences me through his actions, but also influences me through his words. He has taught me a great deal about life. He teaches me Chinese proverbs and instills in me lessons that he wished others had instilled in him.
For instance, he tells me that “the road leading up to success can be bitter, but its result is sweet.” His teachings have made me who I am today.
My father also influences the way I approach life. I have gained not only knowledge, but have applied his teachings to my life. Because of the example he has set for me, my father has provided the steppingstone I need to achieve my goals so that I can lead a happy and successful life. He gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me.
He may not be a firefighter, an astronaut or a brain surgeon – he is a simple man – yet he has left the greatest impact on me. My father is the individual who has influenced me the most and is the greatest gift I have ever received.
An essay from a Tucson Citizen Achievement Award nominee
The Tucson Citizen is publishing some of the best essays submitted by nominees for the 2006 Tucson Citizen Student Achievement Award and Student-Athlete of the Year.