Lean on Me

Jenny - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, setbacks
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I believe that with the bond of family a person can overcome any obstacle in life.

I am only 17 years old, but through my experiences so far I have learned a vital lesson. Stick with family no matter what. Yes, there are times when my dad yells at me for being forgetful of my responsibilities around the house and of course there are moments when my mom sounds like a broken record. “Jenny, you should be more accountable and take control of your life,” she says in a thwarted tone. Then there is the little munchkin, my younger sister, who is both my tormenter and my best friend.

Together my family and I have been through thick and thin. About two years ago, my family’s business manager and long time friend of 20 years disappeared. He took with him the clothes on his back, a plane ticket to Mexico, and nearly all of my family’s savings. We were left with $11,000 and our home, which we sold to make money. Financially, although it was a huge blow, we were still considered lucky to the majority of the U.S population, but psychologically my family and I were traumatized and stripped of our ability to trust anyone.

After this horrific experience, our lives were transformed. Not only did it change our perspectives but also it completely altered our lifestyle. Through all the change and unpredictability of moving homes and schools and never knowing our next step, one thing remained constant: my family’s bond. If anything the experience strengthened it, and in the midst of all the chaos and confusion there was always a support system, a safety net reminding me that everything was going to be ok. Bill was our close friend but in no way was he my family. Family will always be there. Friends on the other hand, they come and go.

Teenagers seem to have the most trouble with their parents, and that’s normal. When I fight with my mother, the whole neighborhood can hear us. We often fight and argue over one thing or another but in the end she’s usually right. I’ve begun to realize that more and more now, and started appreciating her experience and knowledge. It’s hard to admit, but parents do know a lot, and no amount of stubbornness or pride is worth sacrificing that relationship.

Family molds a person’s character. I would simply not be the person I am today without my family. All my interests, my passions, my perspectives, my knowledge, everything that matters would be worthless without them.

I know that the relationship I build with my family will serve me with every other relationship to come. Having faith in my family and protecting that eternal bond guarantees that one thing will always be constant in my life, and no matter how much I lose I will have more than enough to get by.