This I Believe

Anjli - Wheeling, Illinois
Entered on May 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, respect
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I believe in parents. I believe in parents of all generations, young parents and old. I believe in parents who have turned their children into beautiful human beings, and I believe in those who have betrayed the rest of their family. I believe that all kinds of parents have a strong impact on their children’s lives.

As a child, I strongly disliked my parents, disagreeing with the lessons they taught me, and not trying to listen to them. But as I became older, their beliefs naturally embedded themselves into my life.

I remember a time when my dad used to punish me for acting smart and talking back. He would yell at me until his face was blue, place his trembling hands on my chubby little cheeks, and wrinkle his forehead until scars formed.

I will never forget one of his punishments. He used to make me lock my knees while touching my toes. At the same time, I would have to balance a wooden stick on my back. If the stick were to fall, or I were to bend my knees, I would be commanded to start all over again. If I complained and sat down on the floor, he’d make me stand there for what seemed like hours. Of course, it could not have been more than five minutes. What frustrated me the most, was my mother. She always stood there, watched me, and never said a word.

My dad probably only used this form of punishment two or three times, but when I close my eyes, the memory plays back like a black and white movie. I used to hate my father, and my mother for not doing anything about it. I used to think they were the meanest parents alive. But in my heart, I gathered the courage to love them, because they were my parents. Despite the mild torture, they brought me into this world and taught me everything I know, and that is what really matters.

Growing up, I met many fathers, some who beat my friends out of anger and temperament and others, who could have been the nicest fathers on the planet. I also met children who remind me of myself as a child: children who spoke back, thought they knew everything, and did not obey their parents. After watching from afar, I understand why my father punished me the way he did. I understand that I have become an intelligent woman because of the invisible values he and my mother have passed down to me.

I believe my parents have had the greatest influence on my life and their power has molded me into who I am. I also believe that it is not just me. I also believe those whose parents have betrayed and abandoned their children have had a great amount of influence on their children also. I believe that parents have power, and they have complete control over how their children turn out to be. This, I believe.