Essay on Father and His Influence on Me

"Never give up, never give in", declared my father, hundreds of times in Kurdish. As hackneyed this quote is, it carries a fundamental meaning and purpose to my life, which has shaped my character and has defined me as a person.

My father—my role model and mentor—did not come from a prosperous background. He and my mother were from Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, and, along with thousands of other residents, had to flee their homes because of a catastrophic event called the Halabja Massacre. It was the largest chemical attack against civilians in history that targeted the Kurdish people in Sulaymaniyah. Targeting the Kurdish people in Sulaymaniyah, it was the largest chemical attack against civilians in history. As my parents were evacuating the city, families alongside them were being murdered.

Eventually, my father entered the United States with no money. He started to learn the science of air conditioning by researching and reading books. As I was growing up, I would not see him often; when he wasn't working a twelve-hour shift, he would still be repairing people's air conditioners.

Because my father would not come home from work until around ten o'clock at night, and because my mother did not speak English, I usually assisted my sister with her homework. I had to learn and teach the material on my own. In addition, I helped look after my little brother. For me, arriving at middle school was like starting another journey. I felt as if my family's future depended on my grades—and thus began mysterious, yet imperative adventure. It was truly a struggle to focus on my studies as I envisioned my father working like an animal. The only thing that kept me going were his wise, uplifting stories he recited.

I thought my life was as bad as it could get, but it became worse when I heard terrifying news: my father was leaving for a military job in Iraq. It is impossible to describe how a child feels when he learns his rarely present father will be heading to another country for an indefinite period. I did not think I could go on, yet my father would call me every single day from overseas to mentally and spiritually lift me up. One day, I asked him why he was always working. His response struck me and changed my life forever. He explained he needed to make more money, so he could purchase a house in a decent school district; that way, I would receive a better education. In Kurdish, he emphasized, "No matter how many times you fall, you must and will always get back up."

My father's influence was what helped me overcome my struggles and grow into whom I aspire to be. In high school, when my grind began, I realized my father was aging and unable to work as hard. This generated feelings inside me that cannot be described in words but in actions. I have changed my lifestyle to be a never-ending grind that forbids any gaps in my daily schedule. I have created and visualized a vision of my future that would be obtained regardless of the obstructive journey ahead. I wake up earlier than my competitors and stay up later than them, thinking about my father.


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