My Family's American Creed

The story of my parents and how they have passed their American Creed onto me.

By Nate B. from Staples High School in Connecticut

I come from a very “diverse” family, in a sense. My mother is an immigrant from England, and her grandmother before her, an immigrant from what is now Belarus. On my father’s side, my ancestors were hard working Americans for many more generations. My Great Great Grandfather immigrated to America from Russia, and his whole family after him became mostly blue-collar American workers. My family has lots of different experiences in America, each one different from another. I think that’s what makes this idea of the American Creed so special. It’s not everybody agreeing on this same idea. It’s everybody having their own ideals which they create through interactions and experiences, and meeting new people. However, to be more specific, my family's creed is the right to succeed. When my Mom was young and growing up in London, she always saw America as this far off land, where people can do whatever they want. She stayed in England after university, but she still wanted to come over to America because she knew she could succeed here. When she came over in two thousand and one, she quickly established herself as an author. She lived, and still lives, incredibly comfortably, because America emphasizes this right of being able to succeed for yourself and for your family. While my Dad was growing up, he didn't have a lot of money. He grew up in a small house in Westchester, New York. When he was applying to colleges, he couldn't apply to many of the top of the line business schools that he was seriously interested in because he couldn't afford it. He ended up going to a public university in upstate New York. However, America gives everybody the right to succeed, in many different ways. During college, he started a t-shirt business that was wildly successful. My Dad sold shirts for each school, and did it well. He used his friends as “employees,” paying them a cut of everything they sold in different schools throughout America. My Dad was even invited to speak at Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, twice. After college, my Dad went into finance and became very successful. After my parents divorced, he was a single parent commuting nine to five daily. However, he still always made time to see me and my three siblings and made sure that we were always provided for. We lived in a nice house in Westport, and got lots of cool nerf guns for our birthdays. For us, nothing was more important than those nerf guns. This was his other version of success. Not only was he making a livable wage, but he got to see me and all of my siblings happy and together. America isn’t just about succeeding financially. It’s about succeeding in any ways that an individual deems necessary to pursue their own happiness. As our own constitution says, the three inalienable rights to all humans are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In America, any one of these three things is possible. Even all three are achievable if you really strive. I think that this is the part of America that makes it such an outlier when compared to other countries. There isn’t anybody here telling you to say this or telling you to say that, or anybody to tell you what you can or cannot do. This is where those inalienable rights come back into play. Our founding fathers had set goals for this country and were intent on setting up a system that could guarantee them for everybody in the nation to enjoy. Nearly two hundred and fifty years later, we still get to enjoy these pleasures. Success isn’t measured by your income or how much money that you’re bringing in annually. Success is measured by your happiness and how you feel personally. That’s what makes America so successful. Something as small as these driving moral factors can even have significant economic factors. Every person’s individual American creed is different. My Dad’s side of the family may be to work hard and have it pay off, while my Mom’s side may have just thought America was a better place to live. We all have something that’s different from our neighbors and that’s a fantastic way to look at it. However, what really brings us back in at the end of the day, is this overarching American Creed of success. This idea that anybody can do or be whatever they want, and that allows us to have these little things like an American Creed. My family’s creed, and I’m sure many other families’ as well, is the idea of success, in any kind.

Staples High School

Neary 2A 18-19

Sophomores

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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

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