Learning is an Innate Skill

Mandy - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on February 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Learning is an Innate Skill

I believe learning can you provide you with endless possibilities with no limits. I learned this virtue from my mother. She is my hero and the most knowledgeable person I know. My mother has said to me many times, “Learning is the only thing you can do for the rest of your life, it will take you anywhere, it’s a great privilege grasp hold of it and learn anxiously”, yet I have never this very quote in English only in my mother’s native language, Cantonese. My mother has always thought that learning is an innate skill, anyone can learn how to do something, nothing is impossible as long as you utilize learning, as long as you’re willing.

My mother came from a very poor family from an urban area in Hong Kong. As a teenager, she had to work on mending and sewing clothes in order to help her parents support the family. She was the second oldest of seven children and the only girl. Schooling of girls was unimportant and my grandma was displeased by her urgency of wanting to attend school. My grandma thought it was a waste of time, insisting that my mother learn the important skills of being a wife, sewing, cleaning, and cooking. My mother refused of such a set back within her life and went to America to live with my father. My mother felt intimidated by the Americans, she was even afraid to pick up the phone because she knew she there was an American on the other side. Her English was broken and difficult to understand, many people looked down upon her because of her way of speaking and the lack of education. Determined to not be looked down upon she promised herself to have top grades within all her college classes, she graduated from Wichita State University with a grade point average of 4.0. My mother still values learning and incorporates it into her daily life. Even now, she tries to extend her learning, reading everything and anything, everyday and every night, from a large assortment of Time magazines, Wall Street Journals, Wichita Eagle Newspapers, my textbooks, my outside reading books, Chinese literature books, even cereal boxes. My mother has achieved her goal and presently is a successful accountant. I know she is triumphant when she says, “I used to be afraid to pick up the phone, now I’m the boss of Americans of whom I used to be intimidated by,” in completely understandable English.

I view learning to be as limitless as it is for my mother. Aware of the perseverance and hard work my mother presented to me, I know that stretching my learning ability is “hoa jung yew”.