What is Courage?
Imagine owning countless acres of land, running a dozen restaurants, and living a carefree life with the people who love you the most. Then imagine it all being taken away by communists, one of whom is your very own step dad. My grandfather lived a fortunate life in China until it was abruptly taken away from him. He had the courage to flee China to a place where he knew nothing about the food, had no idea how to use the money and knew even less of the language. My grandfather had the courage to leave his fleeting but familiar life in China to pursue a new life in the United States.
Although my grandfather’s family was fortunate and he enjoyed much of the wealth in his younger years, his teenage life in China was not at all easy. His father died in the war and his mother married a communist man. In addition to his stepfather’s ...view middle of the document...
Ford, was able to move him to California. Tim, now on a train from San Francisco to Grand Rapids, was learning American culture rapidly. He hated almost all of it. He had read books and taken some English classes in Hong Kong but felt completely overwhelmed as he stumbled through his broken English and strong Chinese accent. He was given chocolate pudding, which he hastily spit out claiming it was the worst thing he has ever eaten. Being unfamiliar with the new currency he purchased a pillow – he will still be quick to tell you he was way overcharged – on the train. Finally, my grandfather made to it Grand Rapids where he was less then thrilled to start his new life.
My grandfather’s dream was to become a judge but when he came to Grand Rapids his dream seemed to fade away. In Chinese culture children are to listen to their elders and do exactly what they are told. My grandfather was told to move to the United States, take care of his grandfather, and go into the auto industry. He went to college and learned how to manage a car dealership near his grandfather’s home. He had finally found a niche and was feeling comfortable until he met my grandmother. Of course they immediately fell in love and were ready to marry, but there was one small problem: it was 1962 and interracial marriage was frowned upon.
My grandparents married anyway and, although they were virtually shunned by both sides of the family, they had the courage to follow their hearts and a beautiful family came out of it all.
The meaning of courage has been passed down to me through the story of my grandfather. He had a life full of adversity and still had the courage to move to the United States; learn a new language and adapt to a new culture without losing his own; go to college, make money and eventually prosper in this new environment; and start a loving family. Courage is leaving everything you know and love to help your family and start a better life for yourself.