As a young woman in America, I have been very fortunate to have good role models in my life from which to pick and choose my core values.
My father is the first person in my life to instill in me the American Dream. As a young girl, my father always supported me in my life adventures and rarely told me I could not do something. I remember him telling me, “I don’t care what you do when you grow up; I just want you to always be able to take care of yourself.” Because of this I became a young woman that never thought twice about setting personal goals that were unconventional or untraditional. I never measured myself against the status quo. I am now a professional mechanical engineer and I run my own consulting business. I cannot recall where the idea of becoming and engineer came from, but I can assure you that it didn’t come from my high school counselor! My father helped me with my frustrating college essays and did his best to assist with college calculus and physics homework. Regardless of the situation he would always try to put me in touch with the resources I needed to be successful and beamed with pride when I completed each step. He was patient and supportive. Because of my father and my own life experiences, I believe that every person can be whatever they want to be in America. There are no boundaries or restrictions. As much as I don’t agree with a lot of our current politics, I still do believe that America is the land of opportunity. I don’t believe I could have achieved the same personal success living in any other country.
As I reach “mid life” and begin to realize what is truly most important in life, I look around and see too much hate, prejudice and criticism. Who or what gives one person the privilege of being superior to another because of their beliefs? I know that in my own life it has been very easy for me to judge others. But what I have learned from my husband is to stop and put myself in the other person’s shoes. He has shown me how to be tolerant of others. He has taught me to try and see another’s perspective or at least to try and understand what motivates them. I honestly believe that if we all learned how to be more tolerant of other cultures, religions, and beliefs, that this world would be more harmonious and peaceful. Isn’t the real goal to be good citizens and loving towards all living things? As an example, each week I volunteer in my son’s classroom. I see seventeen children of Mexican, Chinese, Russian and African descent. My son sees sixteen other children in second grade.
I am thankful that I have these three wonderful men in my life and I appreciate their impact and contribution to my life and the woman I have become.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.