Over many years growing up as the oldest sibling I had so many responsibilities. I realize how important it was for me to mature as soon as possible. I pretty much had to learn what it was like to be a parent or guardian at an early age. Nothing was handed to me. There was no easy way out of things. Money was tight. All my life my dad would explain to me how hard it was to keep a roof over our heads and go to work every day and try to make time for each and everyone of his kids. He would tell me this is what you have to do to when your a man and that these are the responsibilities you have to take care like your family, save the money, making sure your house is clean and how to make better decisions in life. Although he would tell me things like this throughout my lifetime the message wasn’t as real until I needed things that were expensive for myself like paying off upland football summer  camp fees and making sure I was well fitted for school. So I got my first job.

I started working at McDonald’s by the Ontario Mills Mall when I was 17 and I finally understood what it was like to make money but every time I got paid my dad would take $100 out of my check no matter how much I made. He would use it to help pay the bills. He was trying to teach me that money isn’t always yours and you have to manage with what you have left. When I first started I was only making about $230 every two weeks working  $11 an hour. I was also still in high school and I was playing varsity football all at the same time. So every day was always wake up go to school go to football practice then go to work after work then I would have to study and then I can finally go to sleep. Well try to because as soon as I put my head down on the pillow my dad would yell “wake your ass up and get this house picked up”. Yes, you  already know I wanted to throw hands but he would just turn into the hulk and I’ll be dead. Unfortunately, this is not even the real world yet and I was only getting a little taste of it.

After football season my hours started to go up and I started making good amount of cash but at first I wasn’t using it wisely I was buying Jordan’s , some nike gear , and always going out to eat Boiling Crab. My pops had to sit me down and tell me to “chill out” and that I need to start saving for a car. He said for now on each check you are going to put $300 in the savings and I didn’t argue with him I just listened.The following summer I saved enough money to buy my own car, my first car. So I started looking at BMWs ,Mercedes Benz and Camaros on OfferUp as if I had it like that. My dad was like why don’t you get a bucket that way you have a car now so you can get to school and get to work and you won’t have to worry about taking the bus. At the time it was something I didn’t want to hear but he wasn’t wrong. So I ended up getting my 2002 Acura TL type -S for only $2000.

It runs so smoothly and honestly it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made. So having a the car came with a lot of pros and cons. I started taking my brothers to school everyday through the week so my parents didn’t have to and they can sleep. Pause, I’m so caring right! I had to pay my car insurance which was tough with the hours I was working and make sure I had enough money for gas and man I have never felt so broke. I was living check to check and  I would never have any leftover money for myself. I didn’t mind though as long as I got my freedom and would see my girlfriend and the homies like everyday I was solid. I started not to come home and I’d spend the night at my girlfriends house every day and would eat up all her food because I mean it was free but I wasn’t thinking about who wasn’t eating back at home which got to me when I came home for like a week and realized we had no combinations like cereal and no milk. The house was a mess the refrigerator was empty and my brothers were struggling getting things for themselves because they weren’t old enough to have jobs yet. So I went out of my pocket and bought groceries for the house and it felt so good. I started hooping with my dad too on my free time because quality time is very important to me when I’m balancing my social life and school.
Looking back on when I was little and understanding what parents go through and knowing the difference between living and surviving. Growing up to be a man in my family had a huge impact. I know all my brothers witnessed and will follow my footsteps when their time comes.

I’m only 18 and a half and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in the future. I want to thank my dad for guiding me even though we mostly fought  when we have these type of discussions. When I mean “fought” I mean my body flying through walls and chairs the whole time like we in some kind of avengers movie; but it’s something any boy needs to hear and feel at times. It was my greatest literacy sponsor . I’ve learned not to be selfish and to take care of my household. The little things are just more important to help you become a better person.