Lifelong respect

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Photo credit: Emm Enn via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

I look up to many strong characters.  After many years, I still admire Hillary Clinton for her strength (despite her many flaws) and the many artists and scientists who actively change the world for the better. These people are admired for their intelligence, values and especially in the case of Hillary, the ability to speak well in front of millions.  They are famous because the world needs their inspiration.  They have something that all of us have aspired to at some point. It is a reason why we hold them in such high regard.   However, it is easy to forget that these celebrities would not be where they are today without having been supported by the great people behind them – people who have made great sacrifices in life to see them succeed.  In fact, it is these people in the background who deserve even more respect and admiration. The road to success often begins with people who sacrifice everything to help you reach your destination.

And nowhere is this more true than in the society where I was raised. Although the people I know will never be the Hillary Clintons of the world or billionaire entrepreneurs, I do know many from humble roots who have achieved great career success.  Growing up in a large multicultural city exposed me to the many struggles of first-generation immigrants: those who come to this country with nothing and toil in physical labor until retirement.  Their only hope in this country is for their children to lead a better life than they did. The parents, no matter where they are from, all hope to have their children obtain an education, become professionals and integrate well into the mainstream culture. To help their children succeed in life, they would invest heavily in their children’s education by buying them books to read, sending them to private tutors, and taking them to museums so they wouldn’t miss out on extra learning opportunities. Despite making minimum salaries, they also make sure their children are well fed and participate in activities with other children. They are the true role models, the unsung heroes who deserve much of the credit for their children’s success.

At the Democratic National Convention a few days ago,  Hillary Clinton did not forget to attribute her success to her parents who instilled in her the lifelong values and principles that she stands by today.  Just like many Americans, she also comes from humble roots. Although her upbringing was a world away from the lives of first-generation immigrants that I observed, her rise to the highest office in the free world goes back to her parents’ sacrifices and teachings.  She is living proof that behind every great person, there are even greater people.

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