“My Family: My Strength”

Ellie - Lebanon, Maine
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I was raised Irish Catholic. My parents were very conservative and cared deeply for their image as individuals and as parents, often portraying our family as the cast of Pleasantville. They felt strongly about the connection of family and instilled within me the strength and comfort that family brings in times of difficultly. My mother often used the old Irish proverb, “If it doesn’t kill you, it will just make you stronger.” Later in life, I would come to realize the true impact of these words.

My parents often contradicted their own values because they fought constantly and their personal stressors adversely affected my brothers and me. Their verbal abuse instilled insecurities within me, which resulted in my false perception of reality.

As I grew older, my insecurities grew deeper, and I was hesitant to commit to serious relationships. I did not want to have the same type of relationship that my parents had, and I found myself working longer hours, at three jobs, while attending high school, in an effort to avoid going home.

Years later, I overcame many of my insecurities and married, still not fully understanding the functionality of a normal relationship, and had two children. As parents, our plan was to provide a safe and secure environment for our children with open communication. We did not want to make the same mistakes that my parents had made.

With the stressors of work, raising children, adjusting to married life, and finances, I found that my husband and I were beginning to experience marriage difficultly, much like my parents had. Together, we realized that the stressors of our relationship could have a devastating effect on our children, and we took the initiative to develop our communication skills.

I learned to lead by example. Every parent is entitled to mistakes but should challenge themselves to succeed. I learned from my parents mistakes and strive to provide a healthy, secure environment for my family. I have become selfless when it comes to my family. Through every experience and every obstacle that we encounter, we grow stronger as a family. My family keeps me grounded and brings me strength. My husband inspires me to grow as an individual and my children motivate me to succeed as a mother.

Rather than dwelling on my childhood and wondering what could have been better, I have learned to accept the past and challenge my future. This is what I believe. As the old Irish Proverb states, “If it doesn’t kill you, it will just make you stronger.”