Life in an affluent American suburb can be filled with social pressures on children parents could never imagine. The incessant bullying and mockery I experienced in middle school programmed angst and rebellion into my once gentle and naïve personality. By the time I had reached high school, the pressure had built up to a point that my only outlet of release was to act out. On a late August night of 2002, two friends and I decided, while playing with gasoline, that we should burn down a small wooden shed on a local golf course. There was no rational decision-making or logic; we were sick of the sheltered suburban life and subconsciously struck out against a key symbol of the life we hated. Long story short, a week later I was arrested at school, and subsequently charged with three felonies for my actions. To this day, the worst moment of my life was walking into the kitchen to face my parents who had just been informed by the local police of my thoughtless actions. After hours sitting at the same kitchen table we had shared so many happy memories, my parents did the most unexpected thing; they understood. I can only imagine how difficult such a loving act must have been, but they showed me the most important thing to believe in is family. Through the subsequent months of court dates, therapy, and probation, my parents provided nothing but support. The strength of my parents’ love allowed for us to move on together as a family. All lives experience ups and downs, some higher or lower than others; however, it is only with the unconditional love of a family that someone can truly survive. I can never thank my parents enough for the support they showed me through all the times of my life, especially the tough and disappointing ones. With all my heart I believe in family.
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