Youth Voices
Youth Voices
Seeking America's Opportunity

I believe in the opportunity of America. When I was a little boy, I had always been told that I was so fortunate to live in America because of how many opportunities you have here. My parents would scold me from time to time saying that I don’t appreciate what I have in life and how lucky I am to be living in America. I always would take their scolding with a grain of salt, not fully understanding the hidden message that they were trying to explain to me until my sophomore year of high school.

My world history teacher, Mr. Erdman, lectured the whole class about what life in Asia was like for the average person in the 1900’s. That sparked interest in my mind, thinking about my parents’ lives when they lived in Vietnam, before coming to America as refugees during the Vietnam War.

When I got home from school, I waited until my father came home. When he arrived I bombarded him with questions I had about his life in Vietnam, asking him: did he like it there? What was life like? Did he miss living there? My dad, overwhelmed with questions, explained his answers one at a time with me. My father said that he hated how there was no opportunity in Vietnam because the government didn’t want you to learn or do anything revolutionary during the period he had lived there. The government had a fear that the people would revolt if they were knowledgeable about the world. He reasoned that life was boring because the government wouldn’t let you do anything. For the final question, my dad explained that he would never go back and does not miss it a bit. When I asked why he said you couldn’t miss something you hate.

My dad retired upstairs to take a nap, leaving me sitting on the couch. I reflected on how fortunate I am to be living America, having the opportunity to go to college, having the opportunity get an education, and to be living in a place where revelation is welcomed. Now I fully understand the meaning of why my parents always stressed that I was so fortunate to be living in America.


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May 4, 2017 1:18 am

I probably take way too much advantage over my opportunities. In other countries such as Vietnam a lot of the stuff that I do here I wouldn’t be able to do there such as go to school and actually get a valuable education. America is the land of opportunity and that is why people seek refugee here to flee the troubles at home.

May 2, 2017 11:23 pm

I totally agree with your points. We, in America, have so much opportunity that we take for granted. It is a real shame to see people squander the splendors laid out for them. I appreciate how your essay fosters debate about how we show appreciation of what we have and how we use our advantages to the best of our abilities.

May 2, 2017 2:17 pm

I completely agree! I think that many people, myself included, take opportunities like living in America for granted. I really like this piece and how it sparks discussion of our chances and advantages in our day to day lives.

April 28, 2017 2:06 am

I did not know that your parents were refugees from the Vietnam War, that is fascinating. And I totally take my advantages for granted too sometimes. I guess it is just nice to have a reality check and a reminder that we are really privileged to live where we do and to have the opportunities that we have. However, we both know that not everyone in this country has equal opportunities. Women, people of color, and people who are from lower income families all have disadvantages in terms of education, employment, and other important things in society. However, I think that we can move past them. Do you agree?

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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