It is hard to find a time in my life where I can honesty look back and say that my parents had no influence. Whether it be advice, getting yelled at, or simply help on a math problem, in every situation there is lessons to be learned. My parents have had an insurmountable impact on who I am and the path I have gone down. For some however, like Richard Rodriguez, I cannot say the same. In Rodriguez’s The Achievement of Desire, he tells his story on how his parents and family got in the way path he wanted to pursue.Order now
He talks about how he came upon a point during his life where he had to make a decision on what was more important; family or education? For him, these were two mirror opposites. One setting was open-minded while the other was by the books. He chose education and with this decision, he consequently shunned his family from what he was doing and started blaming them. It is mind-blowing to think that the people who mad him who he was and gave him everything that they could were supposedly the reasoning behind the faults in his life.
For me, family is everything and they have made the person I am, and have wanted to be. The concept of learning is very opaque. There are different ways to learn and different people to learn from. From Rodriguez’s s standpoint, his parent could not live up to the level of education that he desired. They were not smart enough for his standard as the nuns and teachers that taught him provided more for him. I have grown up my whole life with little help from my parents when it came to education.
Seeing as the educational world is continuously changing, the ideas and concepts that my parents learned were outdated and not of any use to me, but that does not me that they of no use. I found that a causal mix of open mined learning along with strict learning is what best suited my abilities. I would have my parents quiz me or help read long during certain readings so could have another perspective on what an answer could be. They knew that they could not teach me what to do so they did whatever they could to help out.
If Rodriguez had possibly done the same, he could have found that there was use for his parents instead of deliberately using them as a scapegoat. It is shameful that Rodriguez shunned away his parents because they were extremely proud of what he was accomplishing. The part that bothered him was that his parents were not as smart as him. There was one instance where Rodriguez had won an award and a nun had come up to his parents to congratulate them. “You both must be very proud of Richard,” the nun said. “We are proud of all our children, they sure didn’t get their brains from us” (Rodriguez 603).
He was embarrassed when his parents said phrases like those as in his mind, it tarnished his reputation. It made him seem like he was less of a person and not as smart because of where he came from. Though it is not his fault that his parents are not as smart as him, that does not mean that they have not worked as hard as he did. He talks about how his mother went from job to job with her limited education and uses the excuse that if she had a better education, she could have done bigger and better things.
What he does not realize is that there were many lessons learned along his mother’s journey that she learned. I cannot tell you what those lessons were, but many lessons are learned outside the classroom and Rodriguez does not give his parents enough credit for what they have done. I realize that my parents both took different paths to get to where they are in life today and every time I do something that is on the same level or exceeds what my parents have done, it gives me a feeling of gratification; knowing that I can live up to what they have done and I am not letting them down.
It bothers me that Rodriguez did not like when people would say “Your parents must be proud”. Kids around the world with no parents and parents who do not care would die for someone to say that they and he takes it for granted because they cannot live up to what he believes. His parents gave him everything that he has and on a smaller note, he would not be here today if it were not for them. They did not abuse, or hurt him in any way, but they still were not good enough. He even says, “I intended to hurt my mother and father. I was still angry at them for having encouraged me toward classroom English.
But gradually this anger was exhausted, replaced by guilt as school grew more and more attractive to me. ” (Rodriguez 601). It seems as though he feels sorry for his parents for not being able to live the same life that he was. That they could not find education the way he did and that they were missing out on something better. The realization of this pushed him even farther away, causing his parents to eventually become distant too. They did not care as much about what he was doing because he did not care about what they were doing.
He talks about how he was a “certain kind of scholarship boy” and the only way he could live up to this is by eventually becoming more and more alone and how it had to happen for him to fulfill his duty as this specific “scholarship boy”. Looking back at my journey and everything that I have been through, I do not believe I could have made it this far without my family. They were my motivators that kept me moving on to greater things that eventually ended in me winding up here at the University of Connecticut.
Every family is different, I realize that, but at the same time, every family shares a unique bond that makes them special. With that bond, comes certain lessons that are hard to replicate. Rodriguez broke that bond by isolating himself away from his family and not getting to experience what it was like to be a part of a true family. He threw away his chance at learning those lessons. One of the lessons that I have learned is loyalty. It is one thing to be loyal to a friend, or even to a significant other, but nothing tests a person’s loyalty like family.
There is no greater felling than knowing that you have a group of people behind you that care deeply about what you do and what say; knowing that in a heartbeat, they would drop what they were doing for you not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Although Rodriguez’s family will always be there for him and he will always be there for them, the concept behind that principle was lost when Rodriguez decided to go rogue and avoid his family. Another lesson that I learned through family was that there is no such thing as perfect.
A family knows that each of the individuals in it has problems, or differences and accepts them for what they are. It is one thing to poke fun at someone for being different, like being a picky eater or whatever it may be, but at the end of the day, no matter what it is, the feelings are meaning behind the person are what matter. Rodriguez says that his brother would say things like “Hey, Four Eyes! ” (Rodriguez 598) or his mom would make fun of him for reading books by saying, “What do you see in your books? ” (Rodriguez 598) but that does not mean that he should of isolated them.
He lost interest in what family was all about because school was too important to him and for that, he missed out on opportunities that he cannot even pay to get back. Family is everything to me and I would not give them up for anything. They have made me into the person I am today and I would not want it any other way. Contradictory, Rodriguez talks about how giving up family was the best option and it molded him into the man he was because it allowed him to focus on school and everything that it had to offer; he talks about how he wanted to be like teachers, as they had control, power, and a great knowledge.
While all those are true, every teacher that he looked up to did not get there by doing what Rodriguez did so why did he have to go down this specific path to get there? Many if not all of them had families that they loved dearly. I am not going to judge Richard Rodriguez for the decision he made, but at the same time, I cannot help but feel like he was the one missing out on a part of life that is very special. I could not bear sitting across from the people that I supposedly love and sharing absolutely nothing in common. People always say friends come and go but family is forever.
You could implement any word in for the word friend and the sentence would still make sense. In Rodriguez’s case, education will come and go as what he learned as a kid and growing up may be irrelevant in 30 years because the world is always changing. The constant is family. It is specific to each individual and is something you cannot take from someone else or give up. I have learned lessons and made memories with my family that I will remember for the rest of my life. I know no matter what, I will always have them and I hope one day Rodriguez will see that too.