Civic Imagination

My Dad

When someone asks me about the most inspiring story to me i always talk about my dad. My Father has inspired me so much that every time i feel like giving up on anything, his story simply comes to mind and it helps me get back on track. Well my father grew up in an underprivileged background, specifically in bourj hammoud. Bourj Hammoud is a small town that is heavily dense with a population of 150,000 over an area of 2.5 km². My father's house was actually made up of one room, and my dad had to actually share it with 6 siblings and his parents. But later on due to his mother’s decease his father decided to put him in an orphanage. Well no one visited my father because his dad was so busy trying to put food on the table. The orphanage later on couldn’t take anymore kids and since my grandfather wasn’t paying money to the orphanage they had to let my father go. My father was 11 at the time, and since that moment on my father never had education again.

Dad then had to start working in order to help his dad support his family; he first worked at shoemaking place where he fixed soles. Later on he sold napkins on the street, and then a waiter, a garbage man and when he was 16 he got his first job at a jewelry store. He used to go and get water, garbage bags, food to the owners, he also used to clean the place. After a couple of months the owners realized that my dad was a very hard worker therefore they decided to promote him by allowing him to work as the cashier. Day after day they realized that he was actually good at his job; sometimes they would leave the store to have dinner and they would come back to realize that my dad actually sold jewelry to people while they were gone, this caused his promotion to actually being a salesman. Now because of this opportunity dad learned the business and then started one of his own and now my dad owns a house and he gave my 2 siblings and I proper education. For me i really don’t believe that anyone has to go through all this struggle in order to survive, but what is really inspiring to me is that he actually made it and if someone is capable of going through all of that then i am capable of accomplishing the things that i want to do in life . Even though my dad went through that, he never told me that story mom only told it to me when i was 11 years old in order for me to appreciate the things that i have in life and to truly understand the privilege that i have.

The fact that this story is my father’s makes me see things from a different perspective. First of all the fact that it is so personal makes me feel a lot and sometimes even cry and therefore it makes me want to change something about that system that made my father goes through all of that. My mom told me this story when i was 11 because dad started working when he was 11 and she wanted me to truly understand the hardships of life especially in a country so corrupt like lebanon. I remember that i cried so hard that night that i even dreamt that i was selling copybooks in the streets. It just wasn’t easy for me to understand that my own father went through all of this struggle. I sometimes belief that this story has to do a lot of why i have become an activist, like when i was young i just looked at it in a way where it just has to do with my father but as i got older i realized that this is what a lot of people have to go through and therefore this class struggle is a problem that truly needs to end. My dad didn’t like sharing that story at first because he thought that it would embarrass me for some reason but i fought so hard to convince my father that i am so proud of him and that i would never get embarrassed by him, in fact i want people to know how lucky i am to have a father like him. I’ve shared this story with some friends and now some people even use that story to motivate their children into being better people and others use it to show the class struggle that people from the lower class have to go through

class struggle/ success/ poverty/ determination

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