Renewing the American Dream

Jacob - Mill Creek, Washington
Entered on February 10, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • 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.

If society could only listen to my mom, we could all be better off. My mom has always professed, “leave any place better than how you found it,” a credo that goes far beyond polite manners. In a time of short lived satisfaction, self-indulging pleasures, and unsustainable growth our nation has left responsibility out of its consciousness. While I have a right to make my own decisions and freely practice any belief I shall choose, it is also my belief with this right comes an immense responsibility to life. I believe responsibility goes hand in hand with my mom’s credo and when applied the positive effects will be seen by generations to come.

America is a great nation, one which its members hold the privilege of following a moral and ethical code of conduct. This privilege umbrellas but is not limited to the business world, social life, environmental treatment and government interactions. Because we live in a nation that has the capability to succeed through hard work, following the ethical code is clearly a responsibility every citizen must pursue.

The problem with America is we have not only divided ourselves as individuals but also by our interests, to such a great extent that in doing so we have lost sight of the connections between these divisions. Through responsibility and hard work America will re-learn that all of life is woven together and all aspects are connected in some way or another.

As my mom would agree all citizens have an equal opportunity to an education, the right to work hard, and if one has worked hard, one holds the right to any opportunity that presents itself. The last part, “if one works hard then…” is the key point, in America today many people feel they have a right to things merely because others do. Obtaining unsustainable achievements and irresponsible pleasures reek of an arrogant attitude and clearly demonstrates the model of an immoral work ethic. Possibly moral human responsibility and an excellent work ethic, is what five men, in the year 1776 meant by, “the pursuit of happiness?” And eleven years later, what the framers of the constitution had in mind? Nevertheless, it is my belief, if you question my opinion or you do not believe in hard work, I would suggest that you have never felt true satisfaction nor have ever deserved true gratification.

It is important to reflect from time to time, on your own intentions; when your time is up, how will people remember you? And what have you done to better your society? In doing this you will be able to critically analyze your actions and determine if you are responsibly leaving your worldly environment better than how you found it.