When I think about the importance of family, I get overwhelmed with emotion. That's because I know I am truly blessed and I wish the entire world could experience what I have experienced in just twenty-eight and a half years of my life. I believe this world would be a better, happier place, and I'd love to spread that feeling to the world as best as I can.
It saddens me to think that not everyone is as fortunate to receive the immeasurable amount of love and support my family has given to me and to each other. The only thing I could think of is to spread this love that I have received, out to the world as best and as accurately as I can. This is the love I'd be honored to pass down to generations to come.
Although my family was never wealthy, we were extremely rich in a different way- the most important way. We are rich with what matters in this world... unconditional love and affection. We are rich with old fashion values about respect and generosity towards others. We were given advice to always take the higher, classier road even during the darker times in our life. We were taught about Gods love and inspired with positive religious values. The idea to always cherish, respect, and help individuals of all kinds was installed into our mindsets from the very beginning of life. I learned from my family that I should display proper manners even if we don't get that in return, support our loved ones even if we don't always fully agree with one another's decisions. We were taught the importance of gratitude and loyalty.
My family taught me not to be selfish, never talk poorly or be cocky, and never to walk on anyone's toes. I was taught to avoid spreading useless and hurtful gossip and taught not to allow hate and petty jealousy seep into our lives. I was taught to be fair. I learned to be sincerely happy for people and wish them the best. I learned about gentle acts of kindness. I've learned the value of friendship. I learned to treat people the way you want to be treated, and to forget foolish pride but be proud of who you are. I've learned that you can do anything you put your mind to, but remember to be happy with what you're doing. I learned that nobody's perfect but as long as you tried your best, that's what matters. I've learned that even though people could be divorced, they can show a beautiful amount of love and respect towards one another and make their family's lives so much better. I learned to compromise. I've learned about humor and the importance of hope. I learned to stand up for what I believe in and discovered the beauty of wearing my heart on my sleeve. I've seen amazingly beautiful sacrifices from parents to their children, and from children towards their parents. I've leaned to see the silver lining through pain. I've learned to be sincere, have a conscious, and to never take anything for granted because life can change in a heartbeat. Most importantly I've learned to appreciate the simple things in life. That's why I try to capture all of its beautiful moments while I have the chance.
Without these special lessons, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate the value and importance of family the way that I do today. For all of this and more, I'll be forever grateful.
Brian Michael O'Neill