A Coin Shaped Medal

Keenan Wahab, 6th Grade

Bruce Lee’s kung fu master, Ip Man, once said, “…one’s attitude should be like an ancient Chinese coin, square on the inside, while smooth on the edges.” What he meant was that one’s inner self should be strong, persistent, and resilient, while to the world one should be flexible, modest and benevolent. My mother’s character is like that of the coin. Throughout my life, she has been my role model because she taught me the finest Chinese virtues through how she dealt with life’s hardships. If I had a gold medal, I would present it to my mother in the shape an ancient Chinese coin.

One of my mother’s greatest challenges was immigrating to America when she was fourteen years old. She did not speak English, therefore school was extremely difficult. This may have slowed my mother down, but she kept working hard to achieve her goal of mastering the English language.
By the time she graduated from high school, she spoke English fluently and was accepted into University of California, Davis. But my mother didn’t stop there, she went on to earn a master’s degree in architecture from University of California, Berkeley. Today, my mother is an award­winning architect. I have learned so much from my mother’s hard work and perseverance that got her so far in life. I’m determined to work hard too, following her
example, to achieve my life’s goals.

Another hardship that my mother had to face was becoming a single parent when I was two years old. Instead of wallowing in depression, everyday she shows me the true meaning of unconditional love. My mother makes me feel like I am the most important person in her life. I know no matter what happens my mother will always be there for me. Not only does my mother shower me with love, but I too show her my affection. Everyday when she comes home, I wait at the garage door to greet her. She tells me that this makes her heart sing. Divorce can cause family bonds to fracture, but our house is filled with so much happiness and our love for each other is so great that it acts as an unbreakable barrier to anything that would tear our family apart.

The most recent misfortune that my mother encountered was cancer. Three months ago, the news of my mother’s illness shook my eleven year old soul. After my mother’s surgery, I went to visit her in the hospital for the first time. Though my mother laid frailly on the bed, she gave me a smile as sweet as honey and as bright as the sun. I knew then and there that my mother was going to overcome this with optimism and resilience. Cancer has weakened her body, but not her invincible spirit. From my mother’s experience with cancer I learned that I too can overcome any of life’s trials as long as I keep looking at the bright side of things and never give up.

Like what an ancient Chinese coin represents, my mother is hard working and resilient on the inside and benevolent and optimistic on the outside. If I had a gold medal, I would present it to my mother in the shape of an ancient Chinese coin. She is a fantastic role model, teaching me the great virtues of my ancestors. Like a torch, my mother is leading me into a successful life.