I believe that family is the single most important factor in the person you become.

Kelly - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on March 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. However, I don’t think this is necessarily an inherent character trait, as I see the doubt and lack of self-confidence on the face of my foster sister and even those of some of my friends. I believe I have this inner strength because growing up my daddy always told me that I could do and be anything that I wanted, and I guess after awhile, I started to believe it.

While thinking about what I believe in, I jotted down a list of things that came to mind- the first of which was family. All those that followed seemed to somehow be encompassed into this one simple yet strong belief. I believe that family is the single most important factor in the person you become, the way you live your life, and a thread that binds you to literally the closest people to you in this world.

It is easy for me to make this claim because I have been blessed with a wonderful family who has always believed in me, has always shown me the doorway to endless opportunities, and most importantly, has always loved me. My loves of nature, humanity and life have been instilled in my by my family. With every canoe trip I learned not only to love the earth, but also family. With every Lake Powell trip not only a campfire, but also my family. With every thanksgiving dinner not only green bean casserole but also the love of my family. By taking in a foster sister I learned to love my neighbor as myself and to share compassion. By being encouraged to stay in girl scouts and dance I learned to honor my commitments and to not only set goals, but to achieve them as well. My parent’s generosity in letting me travel has taught me to respect, and even love, other cultures, people , and ways of life. Not having cable or a flat screen TV taught me that riding my bike and hiking mountains is more fun and enriching than watching the hot new series or an X-box game. Behind all my life experiences has been my family showing me the way, showing me what’s important, and showing me love.

In a world where society seems to put materialism over morals, lust over commitment, and a Big Mac over a hike, I believe that family is more important than ever. Every parent at the end of the day should ask themselves if they showed their child all the love they possibly could, if they challenged them with a question, if they encouraged them to lead a healthy life style, if they were the best role model that they could possibly be. I believe as individuals, as human beings, it is our responsibility to foster these ideas in our youth- and as parents in our children. This is important so that each child can say that they believe they can achieve whatever it is that they set their mind to, that they believe in thanksgiving dinner surrounded by the love of their aunts and uncles, and that they believe in the strenght and power of family. And this, is what I believe.