16 December 2011

America Isn't What You Think It Is

America Isn't What You Think It Is
                                                                                                                        My personal traits:
            Competitive, emotional, enthusiastic, hardworking, a go-getter, loyal, trustworthy, and funny would be several words to sum up the type of person I am. Time and time again I am in situations where my character is tested and these aspects seem to shine through.

            Loyalty and being trustworthy is a big thing to me and and I think if you know someone who is both loyal and trustworthy you should feel lucky. Being trustworthy is when you know you can trust someone or be trusted with everything and anything. Over the years I’ve made very strong relationships with many people. When my close friends need someone to turn to, they always know they have me. Even if they’re not my close friend they still sometimes seek me out. I am the type of person that even if I don’t know you very well I will still listen wholeheartedly and try to grasp what is going on and find an understanding of the situation and do my best to help the person or people solve whatever is going on. If you are someone that can be trusted with anything then the odds are that you are a very loyal person. Loyalty is not just doing the right thing in the right scenery or time. Loyalty is always being true to not only yourself but to the people you care about the most, doing whatever you need to do for yourself or for others that they deserve. When someone tells you that you are a loyal person it is a huge compliment. It is saying that they completely trust you and have faith in you that you will always be on their side of any scenario. Being loyal means staying true to your roots and sticking up for who or what you believe in.

            Hardworking and a go-getter go hand in hand. Having those descriptive words compared to myself, are two extreme qualities. To me, nothing is ever out of reach. I view everything as a challenge--but not an unreachable or an impossible one. When something needs to get done or be accomplished I never stop working at it until it is finished. In high school I was the vice president of my class and never stopped working to make our class the absolute best. At home, I live on a farm. Which means up at three am to work and working till six pm at night. Everyone always says that they’ve never seen a kid work harder than me at such a young age. I used to complain about how much I had to work when all of my other friends were out having fun. Looking back on it, though, I am glad I had the opportunity to get some experience, money, and a big responsibility to set me up for the “real world.”

Who I am:
            Enthusiastic and competitive are two words that anyone would use to describe me. Soccer has always been a huge party of my life, and I have never taken anything more serious in the world. I have played since I was four years old and have pushed myself to the extreme to be at the level of competitiveness I am at today.  I have never backed down from a challenge, whether it be an opposing team, a struggle with a teammate, a problem with a coach, or a time when I was unable to accomplish a drill the right way. I practiced day in and day out until I was the one helping others how to improve and overcome obstacles and challenges. I always not only tried to be better than the person next to me, but knew I had to be. Whether it be on the field or in a classroom setting, I always strive to be the absolute best I can be and to try to manage to outshine the others in the room. I believe that if you are not better than the person next to you, you will always get picked last. It is really like kickball on the playground at school. If you are not good at something, you won’t get picked. So when I look at any activity it is: you either slack off and do not get a fair chance to prove yourself because you already wasted it, or you work extremely hard and do whatever you need to do to prove yourself to everyone else in the room how deserving you are to per se get picked first.

            Being funny is a category of its own. It’s weird to say that I think I’m funny and that other people do, too. Everyone has their own sense of humor, and some things are funny to people that aren’t to others. But when you look at the big picture, being able to laugh at any time is one of the most important qualities in life. No one needs to be serious all of the time. In fact, it’s kind of unhealthy to never laugh. Even on your worst days everyone should have the ability to throw a smile or a laugh. I am the type of person who finds the simplest things amusing and can laugh at anything- at anytime. Although some people could argue that that is just annoying, many people say it's my best quality that I always have a smile on my face.

            All of these adjectives that sum up the type of person I am are very crucial to me.  Which means that people from all over the world have qualities of themselves that they too admire and are proud of themselves for. These words make up the individual that I am, and that I hope someone else one day aspires to be like. I have developed into this well rounded person that I am not only from lessons learned, but from my surroundings. Living where I have lived, growing up you get accustomed to the way of life and you realize that you are living the life so many others just want a little taste of. In a book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua, I learned that some children in other countries and cultures are brought up much differently and do not get all of the luxuries I have received. The pressure sometimes is more intense in other parts of the world and in other cultures than mine.

Being a role model:
            Sometimes people go through rough childhoods and are thrown into the world with a big lack of experience or helpful hints and information. The book that Barack Obama wrote, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, describes the hardships he had to go through and in the end it seems as if it made him a stronger person and someone to look up to. It really shows that even if you have a rough time in your life that you can get through it and things will eventually be okay again.

            With these adjectives that describe the type of person I am, along comes knowledge. Knowing that the person I just described is not only myself, but an ideal human being, an American, is a great thing. In America it is crucial to be the best person you can be. Not only does our country want individuals to be role models. It wants our country to be looked up to and defined as a big deal. America is all the adjectives I used to describe myself and then some. We are a very trustworthy nation and keep our relationships and trusts with people. We are extremely hard-working and do not just do the bare minimum to get by. We go above and beyond and set an example. America is competitive, but in a good way. We just want the best for our people and do what we need to do with in reason to see that that happens.

Judging America:
            Everyone in America seems to think that we are selfish, stuck up, money hungry, lazy, etc. There are so many reasons and examples that those people have that can back up their claim. Americans always have, or at least seem to have, a better life than everyone else. Since it is a kind of obvious and well known fact, it makes us appear stuck-up and selfish. People call us money-hungry because everyone always thinks they deserve more money than they get at their job. But no one ever wants to pay taxes or donate to charity. No matter the tax rate, whether it be ridiculous or not, no one is ever satisfied and happy to be paying it and giving their money away that they worked hard for. Truth is, we as Americans are always looking for a way to cheap out; it’s in our nature because we were raised to fight for our rights and our belongings. But realistically we would not progress in the future without taxes and putting money back into the government to stimulate the economy. However, no one looks at anything that we as Americans do on a deeper level. Everyone is just so quick to judge others and point out the obvious flaws and the things that did not work out well and label them as amateur mistakes. No one realizes that when you “point a finger” at someone, it means that technically three more of your fingers are pointing back at you. Judging other people, choices, or countries does not make your country better, in fact it makes your country or personal character look worse for insulting them or what they have done.

            America can be judged by anyone from the outside world in any way, shape, or form but when you are an American your thoughts on things are altered and different than others see us as. There are many different stories and examples one could use to try and sway someone's opinion and prove to them that America is not just a greedy, selfish, stuck-up country.

Defining moments of youth:
            My high school graduated a class of roughly eighty students each year. We were the cliche: small-town, hicks, cow farming, shorts and a t-shirt kind of kids. Everyone had at least one relative in the same building as them and everyone knew everyone. People did not just know who you were, but who you were related to, friends with, the street you lived on, and your parents' names. At times knowing everyone’s business was overwhelming and tiresome.

            My class had a reputation for drama, drugs, and doing nothing but bad things. Somehow, over the course of growing up together we all had a strong connection and even when we didn’t like someone, we still liked them because it was hard not to.

            There comes a point in everyones life where you are forced or pushed more to grow up. The point in my life and in not only my class’, but my school district's, as well, was on April 25, 2009. Two out of three sisters that went to my school died that Saturday in a car accident. The town fell silent. Text messages were sent out, phone calls were made, questions went unanswered, laughter and fun was put on hold, and tears filled everyone’s eyes. Immediately we were forced to grow up, to not take life for granted, to tell people we love them everyday, and to be strong and use each other to get through it.

            The next week of school was a life-changing experience. Speakers came in, posters went up, trees were planted, their lockers decorated, pins and shirts were made and sold for donation money, and sign-ups were held for buses to take us to the funeral as a “field trip.” I never knew that going to the church for two very well-known friends of mine was going to be my last field trip at Pavilion School. I never wanted it to be, either.

            Coming together in times of crisis is exactly what our school did. Kids that never got along were mending relationships. People opened their eyes and started to realize the important things in life. It took two beautiful sisters losing their lives to make others realize that there are more important things in life to be concerned with.

America’s big challenge:
            One could see this as a weak argument of a significant experience with American Identities, but to me it is the perfect example. In America it takes a huge thing to happen for someone else or many other people to have a huge realization. In the time of need Americans can forget about their money, and what is best for them, and most importantly, Americans can come together whether its an economic issue, government issue, or in some cases, a death.

            I feel like America’s huge incident that brought everyone together was definitely September 11th, 2001. That day, even that year, defined Americans as a whole. Strangers were hugging strangers telling each other it would be okay. Police officers and Firefighters were risking their lives to save the lives of thousands of people. Some would fight and say its their job, but technically they don’t have to do the things they did that day for other people and they did not need to put their life in danger and in a chance to get killed, but they did it anyway, and they did it with pride. It's events like this that even though they are so terrible and tragic, they force everyone to look around and remind themselves to be grateful for what you have and to be not only satisfied with it, but happy. A circumstance like this demonstrates to other countries that we can hold ourselves up and rely on each other and other Americans to help us get through the tough times and sets an example to be followed.

Coming together:
            September 11th, 2001, will be a date that allows sends chills down people’s backs. It will send chill not because of all the deaths and injuries the attack caused, but because when America really needs each other and an extra push to hold on, it shows others we can stand together, we can unite, and we do have the will to hold on and go further and do whatever we need to do in order for everything to work out the way it should.

            When our country was under attack we handled the situation probably better than any other country could. We went right at the problem, and regardless of how long it takes, one day it will all be resolved. Even though our country was in shock and terrified of what would come next, we stayed strong and united, and were informed on what to do next and how to go about doing so. No one was left behind or unaccounted for. Our country stayed together and as one.

            Being united even in times of crisis, danger, and war is something that should be admired. Some countries might not have handled the same situation as well, and that might be because we have more experience and are more advanced than they are. Even though some say that we need to go through another Revolution just because other countries are does not mean that America is not going through a Revolution of its own. Technology is a very well known thing that America is known for. Within each year America updates in different categories and different types of technology. We become more advanced with the smallest things and continue to excel, such as computers because each year they are coming out with new programs, software and new brands of computers. Some countries are not even advanced enough to dream of doing things like that. Americans are always willing to put their ideas on the table and fight for their opinions and dreams. Even people from other countries are willing to risk it all just to get a taste of what it is like to be in America and to be a part of something bigger than they ever imagined or dreamed of.

Everyone fights for their rights:
            It isn’t only Americans that stand up and unite and fight for their rights as a human being. People from all over the world use their freedoms to try and accomplish or get ahold of what they want. For example immigrants that we have read about in books have done pretty much everything possible to get to America to persuade their dream to live the “American Dream.” People have had to cross the desert and have died on the journey through it, mainly because of a lack of water. The admiration other countries have of ours is unrealistic. When you really think about it we are the role models that other countries aspire to be like. America certainly has it positive and negatives list, but we have been through a lot and for the most part have handled the situations well and other countries truly admire it.

            There are so many events that make other countries admire or disgust. For example when the Holocaust was underway people did everything they could to risk their lives to try to fight the Germans, try to hide the Jewish people and other countries were sending items in to help as much as they could. The Holocaust is a poor example of American Identity, but yet a good one. We learned from tragic events like that and are aware of all the damage it had forever left an impact on not only the people who were a part of it, but for neighboring countries and even countries across the seas. A moment like that is just something that is never forgotten.
Everyone has their own opinions:
            In different countries everyone has their own way of life and culture. It’s how different groups of people progress and get through life in their own way. Every area has their own beliefs and traditions of how to live life. Whether people view other countries as “wrong” is their own problem. Typically America bases everything they do off of other countries and what they are doing. In my opinion that is uncommon of them to do because America has always been one step ahead of the game.

            Everyone knows America for the Revolution we had a very long time ago, but it seems now a days that no one recognizes us anymore for the huge step we took as a country. The American Revolution took place in 1775 and was a time where people spoke out and demanded what they wanted. Their taxes were extremely too high and no one could manage to pay them all, nor wanted to. Also, all of the citizens were fed up with how they were treated because they had so many rules and regulations. Only one-third of the people were on the king's side; the rest wanted change. Revolting and sticking up for ourselves really set a huge goal to reach for other countries. No one ever knew that using your voice and coming together would create such a change in life itself. When Americans realized we are stronger together as a whole than separately, we won. Change was a generalization of what could happen if you used your voice.

            It sometimes appears that no one ever has anything nice to say about us or about anything that we have ever accomplished or overcome. To Americans, it comes off to us that other people and countries could be jealous of us and of all accomplishments. There are so many events that Americans have been through that prove ourselves not only as good, hard-working people, but as role models and a country to aspire to be like.

Everyone deserves a chance:
            It makes me happy to see so many people wanting a change and knowing that that change is to flee their own country and come into America. Having read so many books about who different people are and how different people’s lives differ from one another really gives you a different perspective and makes you appreciate your life and also want the best for others in different countries. Although America might have a bad reputation for being selfish and stuck up, in my opinion whether it be true or not, we have a right to be. We work hard for everything we have and truly deserve everything we get. No matter what others seem to have to say about us no one understands the amount of effort we all put into our work. The things that we accomplish in life and in our country truly define our country and who we are as citizens of the United States. Everyone has their own opinions and beliefs of our country, but in my opinion it really matters what we think of ourselves, not what others think.

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