My American Creed

This is my story of my American creed and how it has shaped and improved my life.

By Charlotte R. from Bay High School in Ohio

My American creed is invigorated by my pride, gratitude, and initiative. As an American, I believe these qualities help our society flourish. My pride in my character allows me to feel no shame about myself. On a larger scale, my gratitude towards my ancestors helps me understand the gravity of their hardships, and in turn, better understand the perspectives of those around me. The last piece of my American creed is complete with ambition and initiative.

As a child, I consistently strived for perfection, particularly at school. I couldn’t bear to disappoint anyone, even those whose opinions I should not have cared for, so I put my entire being into everything I did. Regardless of the appraisal I received from my parents or other adults, my peers criticized me for being an “overachiever”, “try-hard”, “teacher’s pet”, “goody-two-shoes,” or any other mild insult. Because of this constant pressure and desire to please everyone, it was difficult to identify the qualities important to me. Adults I admired pressured me to act with poise, purpose, and responsibility, but kids who I longed to fit in with thought those attributes made me boring or snooty. In elementary school I commonly wished the floor would swallow me up. Once I entered high school, I realized I could never live up to anyone and everyone’s expectations, so I broke free of the judgement of others and let myself grow through my own choices and individuality. In turn, due to my new self-confidence and health, I could serve others better but still be true to myself. I am proud of my hard work and accomplishments. I am proud to be a queer American. I am proud of the kindness I provide to others and to myself. I am proud of the contributions I’ve made to the world.

If I had a time machine, I would love to find my ancestors in Sicily or Germany. It’d be interesting to experience the nuances and joys of their lives, to observe their mannerisms and relationships. I wonder if I would see myself in any of them. I applaud their bravery in immigrating to America, a journey I cannot even begin to comprehend. I consider myself lucky to have the privilege of living in a quaint town, receiving quality education, and utilizing “modern” technology, for I know my ancestors may have acquired only a couple or none of those things. Without this appreciation or knowledge of the obstacles those before me endured, I’d be living life ignorantly with little perspective. I know I am privileged. I am so thankful to be a citizen of America due to the sacrifices of those before me.

In the United States, action is everything. If we want to see an improvement, we do not hesitate to act. It is honorable to never settle and continue to pursue the solutions to societal, national, or global issues. There is power in a promise or strong diction, but from my perspective, there is far deeper value to tangible action. This is what we see in our history books: monuments, discoveries, strides in government, heroes who have served our country in any form. I want to leave a legacy, and I think anyone has the will to do so. No matter how seemingly minuscule, everyone possesses a passion for something, but only those that take the initiative to act upon it will be remembered.

At last, I’d like to illustrate a personal value that embodies my American creed, and it is my distaste of the phrase, “everything happens for a reason”. From my logical standpoint, I find that this phrase is utterly ridiculous. There are simply events in life that do not belong—hiccups of malice and tragedy that plague the most noble of people. While unfortunate events can define or guide a person’s life, I think the phrase, “everything happens for a reason” discredits a person’s free will and ability to create their own “destiny”. My American creed is driven by choice, ambition, and individuality. The quality of effort I put into the world is the quality of life I expect to receive, and no person should ever let any failure or tragedy map the trajectory of their life.

Bay High School

4th Block

4th Block AP Gov

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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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