This week’s readings highlighted the importance of striving to be the best person that one can be. In “A Father” by Bharati Mukherjee, the main character, Mr. Bhowmick, praises his daughter for achieving her goals. In Richard Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT,” its subliminal message hints at the importance of the SAT on one’s future goals. “First Practice” by Gary Gildner illustrates the need for success in athletics. Finally, the article “Serving Up Hope” that was in the Baltimore Sun, tells about helping individuals do more with their lives after an addiction. All of these works that we had to read for class remind me of my service learning. These individuals mentioned in all of these works are similar to the students I tutor at Guilford Middle Elementary School.
The short story “A Father” illustrates the innate need for individuals to strive in life. In the beginning of the story, he tells the readers that Babli was a very successful child. She attended Georgia Tech and usually was one of the few girls in her class. He also describes her success by saying that she “would be able to help him out moneywise if something happened to him” (909). However, by the end of the story, he learns about his daughter’s pregnancy, which he deems as a failure since she is unmarried. But, as a woman, she feels that it is her obligation as a female to bring a child into the world since she already has a steady and stable job. Her situation is the epitome of achievement—she is able to rear a child without the help of a man. The main character’s disapproval of his daughter having a child out of wedlock illustrates how everyone’s ideal self is different, its tailored for each specific individual.
The next work, “Directions for Resisting the SAT” illustrate the need to strive and succeed by using wording that does anything but suggest otherwise. For example, the speaker says “Resign all clubs and committees/ Go down with the ship—any ship” to ironically state that without these memberships we are unable to make connections with other humans (9-10). As we all know, the SATs, as well as extra-curriculars, and one’s class schedule are vital for getting into an excellent university and finding a job. These are all vital markers in having a meaningful life in our society. When the speaker says “do not observe the rules of gravity/commas, and history/ lie about numbers” he is trying to stress the importance of academics on everyday life (3-5). By implementing irony, we are able to see the importance of education on the rest of our lives.
Gary Gildner’s “First Practice” illustrates the innate drive to succeed through athletics. When I read this poem, during the first read, it seemed that it was kids on a football team who wanted to succeed at the game. They are willing to do anything, including “[making] two lines of us/facing each other” in an undisclosed area of the school (18-19). This, to me, demonstrated the willingness to be a part of an activity or an occurrence because it allows one to be one step closer to their future goals. If desperate to achieve a goal, an individual (including myself) would do anything to obtain it. Through word choice, the speaker illustrates the need for achievement in the everyday world.
The article that was required for reading “Serving Up Hope” in my opinion was extremely inspiring. It focused on a couple, the Sampsons and their willingness to help other individuals achieve their goals in life. They help those individuals riddled with addiction have work experience in their café and help them be able to find jobs in the restaurant world when they are able to. This article proved to me that by believing in another person, it is helping make their dreams come true. By the Sampsons giving back to those in Baltimore who needed their help not only did they help those individuals, but they became better people in the process. They gave people in need a chance instead of writing them off as druggies who were not able to keep a job down. And that’s what is most inspiring—by giving them a chance to have a successful job, the workers of the café get a second chance to get their life on the right track.
All of these works today really remind me of my service learning at Guilford Middle Elementary School. Last week we were helping out seventh graders review material for their upcoming test. At first, I wrote these kids as annoyed that they were forced to stay after school with Mr. Smith because their grades were not the best, but by the end of our time there, I came to realize how willing they were to learning. For example, the student I was working with, though at first did not want to be at a tutoring session, by the end of our time together knew every answer on the sheet I was quizzing him on. He also became very excited when he would get a question right after previously answering it wrong. After we left the school, I felt proud of myself for helping a student do better on his history test because I was willing to take time out of my busy schedule to quiz him. Through all of the works that we read for class this week, all of them stressed on success and the importance of striving to be the best that we can be.