This I Believe

Marion - Poland, Ohio
Entered on September 16, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that when my dad lost his job in 2001, it was the greatest blessing that could have ever fallen upon my family. No, he did not soon after find a miracle job and begin making a six-figure income. On the contrary, only within the last year and a half did he finally resume to a steady job; before this time, there is a string of seemingly cursed employment that only continues to haunt his application. One company with an outrageously paranoid owner, who fired some of his top salesmen, my father included, after believing that his own employees were planning a white-collared coup d’etat. Another was a small company where scandal reeked the halls and with a lay-off ending in a cesspool of legal filth. The rest of the time gap is filled with numerous other occupations and extended periods of unemployment all marked with low pay, long hours, incredible distances, and, on nights when my dad didn’t just sleep at the office, the sight of the most tired looking man I had ever seen in my life. But somehow, through it all, the love and devotion that my family has for one-another has grown and I count myself one of the luckiest in the world. For those 5 years we all became vulnerable, and the only way to combat against vulnerability was to rely on a new-found solidarity. I remember during one of the longer stretches where my dad was unemployed and my mom had finally gotten a job, he began doing house work, domestic jobs that, years before would have been left solely to my mom. With my parents needing each other to pick-up where the other had to stop, they were capable of creating greater respect for each other. This was also the time for a lot of tears and apologies. We had to humble ourselves and admit that, yes, we were wrong and accept that these people, us, our family, were the last and only people we could rely on. I remember seeing my dad change from a disciplinary, father-figure to my dad, someone human and with faults, not to be feared or resented, but loved, forgiven, and respected. I learned that my parents usually had no clue what to do most of the time, and that what made them good parents was how hard they work to hide that from me, but admitted it later, all because they love me. One example, in the beginning, was how my parents would try their best to hide from my brothers and I just how tight money was. It didn’t take long until they needed to explain that if we wanted anything beyond the basics, we’d have to find our own source of income. Unknowingly my parents were slowly instilling individuality, self-reliance, independence, an appreciation for all that we did have, and a sense of hard work and the satisfaction of being self-sufficient. But above all the other values and mores I learned, the one that stands above the rest is my pride in my family. Sure I felt frustration, embarrassment and even resentment towards my family. I didn’t understand that my parents would almost give anything to get us out of that situation, but as time went on I saw my parents struggle and through the emotions we lived together I now have an unending pride for the accomplishments of my family. It is because of this struggle that we were able to grow so close, as a family. So in conclusion, to the economic regression of 2001, I thank you.