Just Finish the Last Bite

Samuel - 83616, Idaho
Entered on March 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work

I believe in finishing my food.

“Just finish the last bite,” my grandmother would scold me, “finish your food,” as I would stare sullenly at the pile of food that closely resembled that of the dog’s meal. I never liked eating all my food. I wasn’t a fan of the meat and potato concoctions my grandmother ardently loved to cook. Nevertheless, if I was to eat at all, I was to eat that which was given to me, and all that was given to me. My grandma was big on this idea of eating all that you were given; she demanded it from me.

This belief was a guideline my grandmother lived by. She was born in a house bereft of electricity and plumbing on a rural, dilapidated farm in the cornfields of Nebraska. Ever since she was enrolled in elementary school, she decided she wanted to go all the way. She did not just want to learn how to read and write, she wanted a more complete education, she wanted a college degree. For the next fifteen years she pursued this goal. Wading through the swamps of doubt, defying the fact that the odds were heavily against someone of such a social class, she persisted on without the aid of financial scholarships, family, or even welfare. Nine years after she enrolled in the University of Nebraska, she was finally able to graduate, to complete what she started nearly 20 years ago.

When my grandmother moved on, I continued eating all my food out of remembrance of her. Even when I was full, I simply continued on until the task was accomplished. I began to marvel at how effective such a strategy was and started applying this simple concept to other parts of my life. In school, when the tasks became difficult, and the workload overwhelming, I would revert back to my strategy; Do it until I’m done. I have come to see my grandma’s philosophy wasn’t about just finishing bad food, it was about completing the task, finishing what you start.