Hidden Blessings – Michael, Grade 10

This personal essay is written by one of my grade 10 students. In his essay, he has made very clear references to his personal experiences and observations. The various sections of the essay fit well, making the essay to run smoothly. He has also used various literary devices, such as an extended metaphor, to make his experiences more relatable. The essay ends on a positive as well as an emotional note, making the message memorable for the readers. 


Hidden Blessings

Most of my childhood went by as smoothly as bones against cartilages – completely natural and resistance free. Looking back on my childhood, I realize that I was never hungry because there was always someone to prepare meals ahead of time. I was never afraid of the dark because there was always someone to spend time with me. I was never bored at home because there was always someone to entertain me. Just like the cartilage, which allows the bones to move with ease and grace, blessings are often taken for granted as the blessed believe that everything will stay perfectly the same forever.

My grandparents were the oil in the machine; they were the reason why my family functioned so smoothly. However, I never realized how much I took their hard work for granted until they left for China. Privileges that I was accustomed to having, such as having freshly made dishes and a well-kept house, suddenly vanished. The chores and tasks that I had previously taken for granted were now left to my parents and I. It didn’t take us long to notice their absence. On the way back home from the airport, when I asked my dad what we were having for dinner, he just pulled into a Tim Hortons. With my first bite, every cell in my body understood how much it had taken my grandparents’ meals for granted, and how little my grandparents had been appreciated for their work. We are not entirely to blame for this, though. Throughout the course of history, when faced with a challenge, we have performed many great deeds and achieved unimaginable tasks, while when blessed with an all-inclusive lifestyle, we tend to misprize our privileges. 

Likewise, we treat school and education as a chore, something that we have to unwillingly complete. In fact, since we are fortunate enough to be raised in a country where attending school and accessing libraries is an integral part of our upbringing, we take it for granted, thinking that it’s accessible to everyone everywhere in the world. For some of us, the thought of going back to school after a weekend is enough to ruin our day, and the thought of education being something valuable rarely crosses our minds. In fact, many of us even formulate thoughts about not going to school, thinking that it’s not worth our time. With a surplus of available resources, we easily imagine that everyone all over the world is just like us – riding first class on the Titanic.

However, in my dad’s generation, it was the complete opposite. They had to fight for their education, and they never took it for granted. To enter elementary school, my dad had to compete against other children. He had to “write down 100 unique words” (Li) on his entrance test. When my dad was admitted into the school, he valued every single day of his education. Compared to today’s standard, having to spend many hours daily to complete homework and going to a classroom of over fifty students would be unheard of, but in my dad’s days, that was the norm. Instead of being spoon fed an education, my dad had to fight for his education at every step of the way. Therefore, unlike my generation, for whom access to first-class education is less worthy than accessories such as Xboxes and iPhones, my dad never took his education for granted.

During Act III Fishbowl of my English class, it became even more obvious that my generation takes opportunities for granted. When our English teacher asked the class, “What are some of the things that make the cogs of our lives run smoothly?” it took the students some time to come up with examples. Finally, through their answers, students proved that they don’t appreciate their privileges and fail to realize what they are taking for granted until they’re lost. For instance, not a single student answered “living in Canada” because they took democracy for granted. Not a single student answered, “living in a sustainable environment” because they never have to worry about air pollution or deforestation or other environmental concerns. They even failed to mention their family cars, green backyards, and private bedrooms. In fact, it took the teacher some time to stop the students from complaining about how miserable their lives were before they could even focus their attention on their privileges. 

I was lucky as I got the chance to fix what I had taken for granted for years. It didn’t take long before my grandparents were back in Canada, but this time I savoured every bite of the food and thanked them greatly for their efforts. However, not everyone is given a second chance to compensate for whatever they have taken for granted in life. In many cases, people will only realize that they have been taking certain privileges for granted until they are permanently gone. Only when we have lost our cartilage to arthritis, and our bones have begun to scrape away at one another, do we realize that we have been taking this precious, yet the unnoticeable gift of cartilage for granted. So every time, we jump, run, or dance, we need to remember not to take our cartilage, or our otherworldly privileges, for granted. If it wasn’t for the smooth performance of our joints, we would not be dancing as gracefully, if not at all.