Defining the American Dream Essay

Submitted By balvey
Words: 950
Pages: 4

Many Americans regardless of their color, race, or gender hold many dreams and goals. Some of these dreams can be reached; others unfortunately, might not be reached. Some Americans dream of becoming rich while others dream of getting rid of a disease. All of these dreams come from the heart and the ability to hope for great possibilities.
The American Dream to me means being kind, decent, and respectful of others no matter what the cost. I am not talking about being a doormat either. It’s about supporting your neighbors and helping someone in need if you can. Helping someone can be as simple as having a conversation with a complete stranger and just asking them how they are today. This is only one of many ways to show you care about others. I do my best to live up to it, but invariably I fall short at times in the midst of parenting my three children to act appropriately in public. But life isn't about how many times you fail, it is about the successes! Thomas Edison exemplifies the behavior I am describing. He struggled many times and failed while trying to make the light bulb work over many years. When he finally had success with it, well the rest is history. He is not remembered as the guy who wasted years of his life failing at something; he is remembered as the man who invented the incandescent bulb. We should all hope to leave such a mark on humanity. I feel that the "American Dream" of yesterday is no longer the "American Dream" of today. According to my Grandmother, living the "American Dream" meant that if you worked hard you could and would live a successful life. This meant you could support yourself and your family and you also felt fulfilled on an individual level. Today, I feel that definition no longer applies. There are many people who work hard and still barely get by. They also may be so busy struggling to support their loved ones that they have no real time to focus on their own wants and needs. It seems to me that now the "American Dream" has become a rather materialistic one in which individuals seek to barely work, but possess many things. I blame it on consumerism and our new obsession with having things complete us. I do believe the American Dream is possible, just that people forgot that America was not built overnight. That same frame of thinking applies to the American Dream. For some it may take decades, for others, it may easily become true in a year, and yet we are all responsible for making it come true for every American citizen. For me it seems to be taking a decade! However, over that decade my personal American Dream has changed form. I remember being in High School and dreaming of meeting the man that I would marry and traveling the world with him. I would dream of visiting places where you’re afraid to eat the food but you do anyway and love it. As I grew older, my dreams began to mature. I did meet the man I would travel the world with. Today however, that dream has changed from traveling the world to owning a beautiful house, land, peaceful life, and to see my children grow into fine successful human beings whom make the best lives for themselves and their future children.
Hard work actually means a lot of things like working smarter, better, safer and working much more productive each day. I do not feel that it’s all about hard work either, I believe it is about the effort and…