Essay on Childhood and Its Effect on Our Life
Life is full of hardships and moments that change us forever, but we cannot let those moments define us. We choose who we are, make our own paths, and work towards a future that’s brighter than the sun itself. Jeannette Walls and Jamal Malik were two hard-working children scorned by society over and over again for who they were, but they didn’t let that stop them. The dreams that they had were far too important for the meager pain that society had caused, to stop them. Jeannette Walls and Jamal Malik had their differences and similarities, but both stories had one common outcome. Success. The pain of their experiences did not hold them back. In fact, they were what gave them wings. Parental figures and experiences were what prompted Jeannette and Jamal to conquer and overcome their oppressive childhood and lead a life of success as an adult.
Over and over they were mocked, but in the end, they proved them wrong. Jeannette Walls now lives as a well-known author and Jamal became a millionaire. The proved to the world that nothing can stop you if you put your heart and soul into it. These two kind souls deserved so much, yet they got so little. However, they both clung to the dreams and aspirations they had. Their childhood was a part of their past that they just had to conquer. The first step towards that for Jeannette was realizing that her family was indeed dysfunctional.
The change from adoring daughter to a practical person didn’t happen overnight. It occurred in small pieces over a large part of her childhood to her teenage years. “I felt my face turning hot. ‘You're not supposed to laugh at your own father,’ I said to him. ‘Ever.’ ‘Aw, now, don't go get all high and mighty on me,’ Billy said. ‘Don't go and try and pretend you're better than me. 'Cause I know your daddy ain't nothing but a drunk like mine.’ I hated Billy at that moment, I really did.
I thought of telling him about binary numbers and the Glass Castle and Venus and all the things that made my dad special and completely different from his dad, but I knew Billy wouldn't understand. I started to run out of the house, but then I stopped and turned around. ‘My daddy is nothing like your daddy!’ I shouted. ‘When my daddy passes out, he never pisses himself!’”(pg 83). Jeannette’s experience with Billy begins the downfall the faith she has in her father. Although she denies it, deep down Jeannette understands that her father is a drunkard and is just like Billy’s dad.
The only difference is that Rex cares for his kids the tiniest bit. It still doesn’t make up for the pain he causes them. This one small moment causes Janette to look deeper into her father’s behavior and look through a different angle. An angle or point of view that she has never looked through before. She looked at every single act her father does and realizes that there is most definitely something wrong with her family. They starve their kids for months, blow off all their money on painting supplies or beer, and play no role at all in the lives of their children. Jeannette must step up and be the parent to her younger siblings. She realizes all that she has to give up in order to survive. She slowly, but surely loses the faith that she put into her parents all along. Jeannette learns to be practical and efficient. Her parental figures become her motivation.
They motivate her to become a successful person so that she never has to suffer as she did during her childhood. So that she never spends days hungry and going through the trash of her neighbors looking for food. She strives to be a better person than her parents, but the only problem was that she tries to be someone she was not. She runs so far from her childhood that she tries to deny it, but someday you have to accept yourself and come to terms with it. Jeannette eventually gets there with the help of, surprisingly, her parents. Even the most horrible and neglecting of parents can be helpful, one day.
Our childhoods have the power to affect us in ways we don’t even notice. Our parental figures specifically have much power over us. You could say that Jamal Malik had no parents, so how would they influence him and his success? Well, Jamal might not have had a parent, but his brother played the role of a parental figure for him. Saleem was forced to play the role of a parental figure for Jamal as he was a young boy. Jamal became Saleem’s responsibility and he grew resentful of him.
Yet in some strange way, Saleem still loved Jamal. Jamal watched Saleem do the wrong thing over and over again until the difference between right and wrong, drove them apart. Saleem’s actions caused them to live on their own for years, and while Saleem chose the path of evil, Jamal chose to work hard. Jamal spent his life working hard and earning everything he had, while Saleem cheated his way to riches. Saleem’s wrong experiences all had one good outcome. Jamal learned. He learned the difference between right and wrong, that there is no shortcut in life. You get what you earn. So Jamal spent his life working so that he will have a better future. So that there childhood and adulthood will never be the same.