This I Believe

Michelle - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Entered on December 3, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I Believe that Parenting Shapes the Lives of Children

I believe that it is parenting that shapes the lives of children in our society. There are parents who love and support their children in all that they do and then there are the parents who couldn’t care less about their children. How prepared you are for life and all the curves it throws at you, often depends on which type you have. I am proud to say that I was one of the lucky ones, a child with parents who love and support me through every decision I make and have tried to prepare me for life’s many adventures. As I was growing up, whenever I needed anything, emotionally or physically, my parents were there for me. When I had school projects or fieldtrips, my dad or mom would be there to help. If I was sad, my mom would hug me and tell me everything would be all right and make me my favorite food for dinner. As the years have gone by, I have realized that it is because of my parents that I have become who I am today.

From the time I was able to do simple math, my mom had taught me how to balance a checkbook. Every payday, my mom and I would sit down with our checkbook registers. Together we would go through the monthly expenses until the checkbook was balanced. I would have so much fun, and I would often tell my friends that the reason we had these monthly sessions was because my mom wanted to spend time with me. Although my mom probably did enjoy the company, her true reasoning behind having me do these things with her was to teach me and help me understand the importance of keeping track of my money.

When I was a teenager I often wondered just what it would be like to have different parents. Most of the time these thoughts would come at the tail-end of an argument I’d had with mom or dad, but nevertheless, I did think about it. I’d sit in my room wondering, “What if my parents were more like…” and I then my imagination would take over. I would dream that my parents were rich, not so strict, or that I wouldn’t have a curfew. Sometimes I’d even imagine switching parents with my friends. As I look back, I realize that these rules that caused so many arguments, the ones that I resented, weren’t made to ruin my life as I so often thought. Instead, these rules were created to teach me to take responsibility for my actions and to do what I have learned is right.

All of these things that my parents taught me, things that I may not have chosen for myself, made me the mature, capable, young woman who knows her heart and her mind…and a young woman who can balance her checkbook!