"An Original Is Worth More Than A Copy” – MH

I am 14 years old.  I was born in North Philadelphia.

When I was little I lived with my mom, my Dad and my 5 siblings. Although I lived with my dad, I don't remember seeing him much.  He was always gone and I mostly spent time with my mom.  When I was 4 or 5, my mom, my siblings and I moved in with my grandmother in Bristol, PA.  I still saw my dad at this time, but less frequently.  My dad and I  were very close, his favorite nickname for me was “Money bear.” I remember the day when day my mom got a phone call from an unknown number, she didn't tell me what it was about, but I had a feeling my dad was in jail. When my mom finally told me, I was devastated, I cried for days. A few days later, I finally got to speak to him on the phone. We only could talk for a limited time. He gave me the address of the prison he was at, so we could send letters. After that, I learned to cope with him not being in my life for that short period of time. He would send my brothers and sisters and I drawings that he made, some were very funny, some were sad. The letters he wrote me and the time I spent talking to him helped me get through that difficult period.

  I remember the first time we went to visit him. We played board games, ate food, and had good conversations.  Although I was happy, I was very shy. We visited him once a month while he was in jail. He went to jail when I was 6 and got out when I was nine. He was in and out of jail until I was about 11 years old and at this time I had moved to Maryland.That year, he was finally out of jail for good and we got to spend the whole summer with him.

I was very happy to spend good times with him. Unfortunately, at the end of that summer, we were on bad terms. We didn't talk for a while when I went home, and we would always argue. I visited him a few times after that, but things were never the same. I wish I could have gone back to the summer and changed how things went down. I would change the biggest mistake I ever made, which was disrespecting my dad. Someone who cared so much for me and did right by me. One day, I came across a quote that said  “It's not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.”  To me, this quote means you can’t let your mistakes get the best of you. Also, don't let mistakes define you as a person. So, that day I apologized to him, that was when I was 12 or 13 years old. Now that I am 14, I realized it's time for me to grow up. When I disrespected my dad, I was very childish and I was very disobedient. I have since grown and matured. I will being going to high school next year and being in a childish mindset will set me back. Now that I have changed my ways, my dad and I are on good terms. My dad always tells me to do my best and to not turn out like him. He always tells me I will be successful. He always tells me not to fight but to also never let anyone talk to me like they don’t have any sense.  

   One piece of advice I wish I had prior to my 8th grade year is, to be yourself because an original is worth more than a copy, and to also never bite the hand that feeds you. A word of advice I would like give to my fellow scholars is to put enough energy in your classes to do well. I would also tell them to work first and play later.

– MH