This I Believe

Michael - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on September 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Everyday after school, I would walk through the door entering the living room and look off to the right to see my father, sleeping on the couch. Then, I would look across the room to see my energetic little brother playing with his toys in front of the television. Only then could I appreciate what my father has done, not just for me, but for my two older sisters who are in college and my little brother. It sometimes makes me ask myself, “Was I a spoiled child?” And I picture in my head what my dad had to go through raising four children, and I have to do this everyday I see his tired body sleeping on the couch during the afternoon.

Growing up I always, without a doubt in my mind, knew that my family didn’t have a lot of money, and whenever possible my mom would get through my head that I should be saving up for college. Now that I’m sixteen I really understand why they have been trying to get me to save up my money since I was five. With all these notions of saving up, it pains me to see how my father, who would rather see my brother and I as happy as possible even if it means money coming from his wallet, money that my dad works two jobs for, money that he has worked countless hours for, takes money from his wallet to put a smile on our faces.

One day, my brother had seen a commercial on television for an amusement park and had, I thought, jokingly asked our dad to take us. And what I though as a sarcastic response turned out to be the sincere truth. My dad, after hearing the plea of my brother had said without a silence, “Do you want to go? Okay we’ll go next Sunday.” With that response, I was amazed because I would’ve thought that if I had asked the same question when I was eight, I would’ve gotten a small chuckle with a very serious answer like, “You know we don’t have the money for that.”

As I came home from one of the best days of my summer from the amusement park, I recalled in my head all the times my dad had pulled out of his back pocket, his wallet to get out some money. Every dollar he spent just made me appreciate my father more. Not because of what he spent it on but what his reason for spending it.

I just want to tell my dad straight out, “We don’t need this.” But, I know that saying that would only hurt his feelings because he sees these “acts of kindness” as his duty to us as a father. Nevertheless, I believe that having an empty wallet doesn’t mean having an empty heart. It’s not necessary that you have to spend tons of money just to show someone you care.