So this morning I went out and got a mixed dozen box of donuts for my family to eat for breakfast. These days, donuts don’t seem like a big deal to me, but 15 years ago donuts were a luxury for my family. When I look back and think about how different life is for me and my family now, it’s still pretty hard to believe.

My family is the first generation to move to America and we’re the only ones here out of everyone in our family. That means that there’s no one else out here that we can fall back on if times ever get bad. Growing up, my dad saved every penny he made so that he could buy our family a house, the two cars that we had, and whatever else we absolutely needed. For most of my life, my dad worked as an architect for a Chinese company that dealt with restaurant and warehouse development. My mom was a free lance translator that worked at home so that she could watch over me and my brother. Neither one of them made too much, but we were considered lower middle class.

As a child when you hear or see about new toys, snacks, or events, you naturally ask for them because you don’t understand how much work goes into bringing home a dollar. As a child, I heard no for just about 99% of my requests. The only exception to this was when my brother and I got A’s on our tests and report cards. Back then my mom would give us a dollar for each A. Most of the time my brother and I would end up using this money on junk food like chips and soda. 15 years ago, a dollar could buy you a gallon of gas, a large bag of chips, and a 2 liter of soda. 15 years ago a mixed dozen of donuts was 5 dollars. Now a mixed dozen costs about 7 dollars, but a mixed dozen will always remind me of the tough times my family went through as well as the true value of a dollar.

I just hope 15 to 20 years from now, my future kids will understand the difference in the quality of life I went through versus what they will go through. Hopefully 30 years from now, my future child will look back on their childhood and appreciate the hard work that my wife and I will put in to raise them. In no way will I spoil my kids and allow them to underestimate the value of a dollar, but it still won’t be the same. Right now I make as much as both my parents make when I was growing up. Simply put, I hope my future children and family will never go through the hardships that my grandparents, uncles, and parents went through. It’s amazing how a box of donuts can remind me of the steps it took for me to get where I am.

Thanks for reading.


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