Nothing is Given on a Silver Platter

The best writing is often very personal. All kinds of experiences-serious, funny, unexplained, fleeting - can influence our lives and help shape who we are. Tell us about a person, place, or event in your life that has particular meaning for you, and why it is important to you. We'd especially like to hear about someone or something that has affected your life that may not have affected or even been noticed by other people.

The saying that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree is more than just a hackneyed expression. In actuality, it still holds an ounce of truth. My father has always been the family man, an honorable person who unwaveringly cares for and supports his only lifelines, his wife and children. From humble and lowly beginnings, my father came to America seeking the "American Dream." He found it, mostly. Emigrating here from China in the 1960s, my dad lucked out and became more than just another no-name refugee finding a safe-haven from turmoil. He became the personification of struggle, determination, and ultimately success.

Ever since my early childhood, my father has always tried to instill in me a sense of decorum and responsibility. At the dinner table is where I remember him always trying to teach proper etiquette and table manners. I never really understood the purpose behind stressing over how to eat dinner properly or how to fold your napkin neatly. In addition, he always pestered me about my academic life and wished that I could finish my work on time and get that magic 100 on all of my tests. His steadfast and persistent approach to discipline was something I never could grasp. Looking back on it, I wish...

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