This I Believe

Christine - Austin, Texas
Entered on May 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: hope, immigrant

American Dream

I believe in America. I believe in being an American. I believe in the American Dream. But, most of all, I believe in working hard. All of us, either a recent immigrant, or a descendent of one, at one point, came to America to seek a dream. For Columbus, it was an opportunity to discover something new, the Puritans, to practice their beliefs. My parents, who were Chinese immigrants, came to America for prosperity. They wanted a chance to give their children a chance. They knew that here is all about equality: equal chances, equal rights, and equal prosperity. I, too, believe in the American Dream.

What is the American Dream? Is it material wealth? Is it how successful you become? Is it to live a long healthy life? When do you know you’ve achieved it? When do I know I’ve achieved it? I believe that if I am living in America. I have already achieved half of it. So many people would gamble their whole life just for a ticket to America. Constantly there are Mexicans illegally crossing the border into this Land of Liberty. They cross because they too want a slice of the American Dream. I look around, and I see those who take advantage of this Dream. Those who already have been served their slice, but waste it away, not savoring the whole of their precious asset. While others, less fortunate clamor and desperately grab for even a sliver. The American Dream is being able to reap the benefits of what you put out. So many places in the world this is impossible. Yet, here in America, this sort of thing is common.

My father came to America in pursuit of his American dream. He had lived his childhood in the uncomforting little room that he had to squeeze in with his 3 other siblings, enduring taunts at school for his broken shoes. Not to mention his birthdays without presents “Many years ago when I used to walk home from school, I would always walk past this toy store, and I saw a model of a fire truck that I desperately wanted. I wanted it so much that everyday after school, I would walk by and stand in front of the window, imagining all the things I could do with it, and what I would trade for it—I thought anything,” he tells me, “I remember it was my 9th birthday, and I had already hoped for this fire truck for over 3 months. I just on the tip of my toes waiting to see if that were to be my present. But when all the family came home at night, no one even mentioned my birthday—I guess it was because my parents had too many children, so it was just too much to remember everyone, no one was special. That’s how you feel in many places out of America, you feel like a duplicate, without uniqueness. I was too naïve to see my present was out of the question.” Later he mentions the truck was bought, “ –that day, I could feel myself drop. I was hoping so much for that red truck model, but what can I do? Nothing. That was my life, my parents worked hard, but they were never able to rise. Here in America, it’s different, there is no reason why you shouldn’t rise, and opportunities are everywhere.”

Working hard is the key to achieving the American Dream. Being here, you’ve already achieved half of the American Dream, but to achieve the other part, you must put in effort. I believe the American Dream is real. Wishing upon a star will not make it come true. It takes you and me, to make it happen. This I believe.