“With family on your side, there isn’t a battle you can’t lose”. It is more than fair to say that America is one of the most diverse countries one may come across. Each and every citizen has different view points, ideas, and ways of life. No two Americans are the exact same which makes it hard to understand how they could both stand firm in their American citizenship without distinction. But, that is something built into the intrinsic values of our nation and a paramount point in our ideals as a sovereign state founded on freedom. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in this case, that is very true. Your family is the reason you are who you are as an American, they give you an identity. Being faithful to the people that love you and living by good family morals are some of the most underrated values of being an American citizen that truly do mean a lot in the long run. 

In my book, “This Is Not The End” by Chandler Baker, Lake Devereaux stumbles upon a life- changing situation- her 18th birthday. In this utopian society, on your 18th birthday you have the opportunity to resurrect one person from the dead. Now, this is a hard choice for anyone let alone a teenage girl. It comes down to a choice between what is right for her family versus what she wants. In American society, family is valued with high regard. Most of the way a person behaves and lives their life is due to how their parents and surroundings they lived in shaped them and grew to be their moral supports and role models. Similarly, Lake learns how to make decisions based on what she knows is something she can stand by, something that she and her family would be proud of. However, with all the problems life throws at you it is hard to know right from wrong. 

Not until very late in the book does Lake truly understand what family means. Not until she has lost everything and everyone that loved her. Realizations like these make one understand truly how important it is to keep the people that believe in you close and even put them over yourselves at times. In a 2014 study by Feeding America, researchers found out that roughly 26.5 million American families struggle to manage feeding their family along with other normal necessities such as education and housing and clothing (Huffpost). This means that 1 in 7 people need help by food banks to provide for their meals. This shows the struggles many people will go through in order for their families to stay afloat. The study talks about many hard decisions Americans have to make if they want the best for their family. For example the choice of buying a greater quantity of food rather than greater quality or feeding the family instead of paying utility bills. Although none of  these situations are similar to Lake’s, it goes to show how important family is and the sacrifices you have to go through to make things work. 

Lake’s brother, Matt, is a quadreplegic. This means all of his limbs are paralyzed from the neck down. Little does Lake know that the reason for his injuries was because of her- because he tried to save her. Seemingly so, this took a huge toll on the family and their connections with each other. I think this brings up another topic, family morals. Most families have their set of rules that make their lives go round. Nobody just automatically knows how to live their life and what to do, for example, simply being a nice person comes from ideas and actions you learn from the people you surround yourself with. This too is another value of an American citizen that goes hand in hand with having good family connections. Bryan Zitzman explains the meanings of social conduct and morals. He explains that “Our family values help us shape our own personal values and morals–which in turn helps define who we are and how we make our way in society.” (Zitzman). As an American we also have our own set of values that we live by known as the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance. Although not necessarily blood related, you could look at America as a big family which started back with George Washington. Just like in a regular family, without people there to guide us, life would be very difficult and we wouldn’t know how to act when faced with big decisions and changes. 

After reading this book I feel like I have a better sense of what the meaning of family is and how it can make or break your life. Life may throw big challenges your way but sticking to your morals and family values will help you through. As an American citizen, even though it may not be written or set in stone anywhere, it is important to have faith in your family and those that love you. I have learned that if you trust in the process, with perseverance and passion, you really can overcome whatever problems you experience.

Works Cited:

Baker, Chandler. This Is Not the End. Hyperion, 2017.

“How America’s Hungry Families Balance Nutrition, Housing And Health Care.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/how-americas-hungry-families-balance-nutrition-housing-health-care_n_6436594.

L., Ryan. “Family and an American Identity.” Family and an American Identity – American Creed, writingourfuture.nwp.org/americancreed/responses/1567-family-and-an-american-identity.

Zitzman, Bryan. “Family Values.” Beliefnet, Beliefnet Beliefnet Is a Lifestyle Website Providing Feature Editorial Content around the Topics of Inspiration, Spirituality, Health, Wellness, Love and Family, News and Entertainment., 11 Oct. 2019, www.beliefnet.com/love-family/family-values.aspx.


CC BY-SA 4.0 The Meaning of Family by Laya is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Aliko 2 hours ago

    Hi Laya, I love how you talked about family and family is important to us all and they makw who we are. I personally say that family is the most important thing to me and that it comes first before anything. Here is an article i think you might like https://www.beliefnet.com/love-family/family-values.aspx

  2. Sloane 2 hours ago

    Hi Laya!
    I really enjoyed reading your post. That book seems really interesting, and I’d love to read it sometime. I thought that you did a really good job connecting the book to the essential question. I think you brought up interesting points about morals and loyalty to your family as well. From your writing, I am assuming that Lake chose to bring back someone who wasn’t in her family, and that her family shamed her for this because they wanted her to bring back someone else. What do you think about this? Do you think she made the wrong decision or do you think it doesn’t matter because it’s her choice? Can’t wait to hear back from you!

    • Author
      Laya 2 hours ago

      Hi Sloane! Thanks for commenting on my post and helping me continue my journey towards youth voices fame. It’s true that Lake wanted to bring back someone outside her family, but I don’t want to spoil much. I think it is a hard decision but it truly is her choice on who she wants to resurrect. Thanks again and have a good day. -laya

      • Sloane 2 hours ago

        Hi again Laya!
        You’re so welcome for helping you reach your goal of stardom. You truly deserve it with the intricate and complex analysis you wrote on the novel. It’s very considerate of you to not want to spoil the book. Hope you have a marvelous weekend.
        Best wishes,

  3. Prerna 3 hours ago

    Hi Laya,
    I really liked your essay especially the really big words you used. I think your book ties well into the meaning of family and how it is an American creed which you do a good job of explaining. I also enjoyed your opinion on family being so important in one’s life and the ability to overcome obstacles within it.

    • Author
      Laya 2 hours ago

      Hi Prerna! Thank you so much for your feedback!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account