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I Learned Two Valuable Life Lessons

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Throughout my childhood I watched my parents struggle financially because neither my father nor my mother had a college degree, which, in today’s economy, is a prerequisite for any decent paying occupation. As a result of this increased stress level, my father’s alcohol dependence became unbearable and often caused verbal disagreements within the household. It was ultimately these quarrels that destroyed the familial bond that the three of us once shared. Despite the negativity and stress that these experiences caused me, I learned two valuable life lessons; education is the key to success and money management is the key to economic stability. For thirteen years, my father would come home from his job as an auto detailer miserable and withdrawn because his hard work and dedication to the job was being taken advantage of. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do about this without risking one of the few positions available to those without a high school diploma. As a result, he used copious amounts of alcohol to cope with his stress and frustration instead of confiding in his family for support and encouragement. This amount of alcohol, usually a thirty pack every two days, turned my father from a kind-hearted and jovial man into someone beyond recognition. While his erratic behavior never led to physical abuse, there was certainly emotional abuse and intimidation tactics used when he became frustrated or angry. For instance, I remember a time when my father and I were having a verbal disagreement in the car on our way home from visiting my maternal uncle in the hospital and he became so enraged that he slammed on the brakes in the middle of traffic. Once he continued to drive, he was doing so in an unsafe manner so my mother... ... middle of paper ... ...but somehow, through it all, they made our limited household income work. I was able to do things that I never dreamed I would have the ability to do and purchase things that I will treasure for the rest of my life. While my parents never wanted me to see the true detriment of our low socioeconomic status, it was hard for them to shield me from it as I grew older. I would hear the late night discussions and arguments between my parents of what to concede in order to pay the bills and I watched my father attempt to drink difficulties away daily but there was nothing I could do about it since they would not allow me to give up an opportunity of a lifetime because of the cost. Regardless of how it felt at the time, I now know the true value of an education and how essential money management is to surviving in today’s economy. These are the lessons I will never forget.
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