At the end of the day, when distractions of everyday life and petty hobbies fade away, two of the most predominant and most important staples in our lives that remain are always family and community. Both of my parents, born and raised in South Africa, came to America in their early twenties with little resources and knowledge of what their future held. They came with a hard-working mentality, a strong desire to succeed, and a meaningful sense of community that has helped me shape my American creed. My parents are both incredibly devoted, hard-working, selfless, and intelligent individuals that inspire me to better myself daily day and appreciate what I have. They relay to me how powerful family and community can truly be through their past experiences and actions today, and have shown me the importance of staying grounded and remembering where I come from. Family and community give us purpose in life and help motivate us no matter how tough times may get and no matter how crazy the odds of reaching the desired outcome are, which is something truly special and irreplaceable.
In the PBS documentary, American Creed, so many students relayed how their parent’s immigrant pasts have helped them want to succeed in America and replicate their drive and resilience. Almost everyone reached a similar consensus in the documentary, making statements along the lines of “my mom is my everything, I want to be successful for her” (American Creed). There is no better motivator in life than your family and parents, and after receiving so much love, time, effort, and care from them over so many years, you just want to show them how thankful you are for them. You want to thrive and continue to improve in every aspect of life for them after they have sacrificed so much for you to be in the position you are in. Our parents give us such incredible opportunities in life and teach us how to utilize the tools and characteristics that they supply us with. Peter Mohai, a successful rheumatologist today in Seattle, explained to The Seattle Times how everything he has today is because of his mom. Mohai shared, “we put ourselves through college, financially. But we got there from working as my mom taught us, in the fields or office jobs. We have college degrees and professions thanks to our mom” (The Seattle Times). Mohai’s mother immigrated from Mexico, worked incredibly hard to provide for her children and inspired them to be where they are today. I found aspects of his story to be very relatable to mine today, and to my Dad’s story, which I had the chance the sit-down and talk with him about.
Both of my parents immigrated from South Africa to America, shortly after finishing University, got married, and aspired to create an amazing and prosperous life for themselves and for their future children. My parents capitalized on the amazing “promise and potential of the American Dream” that America offered by working tirelessly day and night, and saw a truly amazing payout, as they started to solidify their lives here, and today have achieved their goal of starting a happy and healthy family (Joseph). Although, after talking greatly in depth to my Dad about his experience as an immigrant and about what his motivations were and are today, he relayed that he may not be where he is today without family and community. My dad grew up his whole life in South Africa with an incredibly close Jewish community, two siblings, and his unbelievably devoted and one of a kind mother, my Granny Nat. While we were talking, he said to me, “is there a more courageous, stronger, more motivated person than my mom? Just now when I went back to South Africa, we discussed how she had to fight for every meal and paycheck. Her perseverance in life has motivated me to to do the same for my children and succeed every day” (Joseph). My dad’s father tragically passed away when my dad was just 4 years old, leaving my granny by herself and terrifyingly against the world, however, she did not let her life and her children's lives crumble. She fought with everything she had and came out victorious, creating a world full of endless opportunity for my dad and for his siblings. My granny motivates my dad so much to succeed and improve in every aspect of life today and inspires him to replicate her admirable characteristics and pass them down to me and to my two siblings. My dad’s story is such a strong example of the power family can have on a person, and how whenever all hope may be lost, family will always be present to guide you to ultimate success and happiness. His relationship with his mom has helped shape his American Creed, and my relationship with him, my mother, and the rest of my family and community have helped shape mine.
Seeing how my parents moved to America and worked so hard to make America their home has shaped my American Creed today. My American Creed today is that if you put all of your passion, dedication, and persevere through any obstacle in life, the desired outcome will always occur. However, I believe that the most important factor throughout all of this is family and community. As my dad put it, “community and family both work together to shape the person who you are and the person you want to become” (Joseph). Family and community drive us to better ourselves every day and strive to reach any goal that we may aspire, and they have both helped me become the person that I am today. All of my best attributes and mannerisms that I have today, I owe to the motivation and support that my family has provided me, and throughout all of my future ambitions and goals in life, I know that these incredible people will never leave my side.
American Creed. Rice, Condoleezza and David Kennedy, directors. PBS, 5 Mar. 2018, www.pbs.org/program/american-creed/.
Joseph. Personal Interview. 4 June 2019
Staff, Seattle Times. “'I Am Grateful That My Parents Were Allowed to Come to the United States': Readers' Immigration Stories.” The Seattle Times, The Seattle Times Company, 3 July 2018. www.seattletimes.com/opinion/our-american-family-readers-immigration-stories/.