Influential Family Member
As a senior in high school I have had many people come and go in my life. Although, someone who is important to me has been a family member since the day I was born. My cousin has been through divorce, drugs, alcohol, a jailbird brother and tons of lies. He has not had the easiest life and I have no clue how to sum up the kind of hardships he has been through and how loving he has always been regardless of the situation he was in.
My cousin has been through tons of life experiences and every mistake he has made I have learned from them. At the age of 15 he started changing; I noticed this in his clothes, hair, friends, and behavior. He would wear the same clothes over and over again even though he had several other selections. His hair grew out to his shoulders and his hygiene started to go down hill. Everything he was before changed for the worse and no one knew why he was acting out in such belligerent ways. He was defensive about every accusation and always looked guilty. I did not understand why he was acting so different than the cousin I once knew. I considered him my older brother and was devastated when he felt his friends were more important than family. When he was a senior in high school his parents kicked him out because of drugs and alcohol. My Aunt Shari offered him a place to stay, but there were many conditions in order for him to be accepted. My aunt gave him rules, made him get a job, and told him he had to finish high school if he wanted to continue living in her house.
My cousin graduated and chose to join the marines which really started to turn his life around. Every one thought the worst was over. My family and I were excited for him to go to boot camp and that he was looking into attending college. He left for San Diego during the end of 2009 to attend boot camp. He told the whole family he stopped consuming drugs and alcohol at the beginning of summer. The whole family became very confident in him and looked forward to his future.
About three weeks after he left my parents sat me down and told me he had been discharged. I asked what they meant by discharged and the only sentence they told me was that Colton would explain in person when he came over to the house. I had no idea what to think when he walked in the room. He explained that he was discharged because of the drugs found in his system during a routine drug test. Colton was heart broken and beat down once again knowing he had to make a serious change. He decided to attend a community college and is currently a full time student and a manager at Dominos Pizza.
Colton is important to me because of the examples he has provided of all the wrong decisions. He is very encouraging and inspiring and through everything shows that anyone can change. If I did not have my cousin as an example, I could be the one doing drugs, consuming alcohol, or even failing classes. I care about my life and appreciate it so much more because I have seen the other side. I do not take anything for granted and welcome the opportunity to tell people my views on underage drinking or engaging in drugs. There are laws for a reason that prevents most teens from engaging in illegal activities. I have seen some of the consequences that Colton has faced and know exactly how to avoid them. I know what I want to do in life and work hard to achieve my goals. I have learned to always have a back up plan because nothing is perfect and you cannot control the outcome of everything. When Colton was discharged from the marines it was really important for me to let him know that I still loved and supported him but had lost a lot of trust in him.
Going to college is very important to me and my family. I know now how to stay on track and because of his failures I have learned to push my self to make A's and B's while managing extracurricular activities.
Colton has influenced me in many ways that have all made me a better person. What I have learned from him is to be responsible and to do what you know is right. I know not to degrade myself for anyone and to be a leader. With out Colton in my life I would be very naïve to many situations. Colton grew up too fast and did not appreciate his childhood. I thank my parents for giving me a secure home and Colton for showing me there is always a way out of bad situations.