A while ago, I read The Brothers Karamazov – a book that made me question myself, my beliefs, and everything I thought I knew. There was one quote that made a great impression: “You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us.”
The author’s words triggered an avalanche of memories from my childhood. The first image that appeared in front of my eyes was a typical Sunday afternoon. The table, as always, is full of food, and the fireplace is spreading that cozy warmth I used to love so much. That simple scene evoked the feeling of safety. I realized my childhood memories were mostly related to scenes of family gatherings, but there was one possession I constantly saw myself with: a drawing book. It wasn’t a fancy hardback with step-by-step instructions; it was a simple drawing book that asked me to mimic the images of the coolest things in the world – a plane, kangaroo, submarine, house, gondola, elephant, and lots of other fun things that kept me busy for days.
When I try to identify the most precious memory from my childhood, the same image always comes in front of my eyes – me, sitting on the floor of the old, warm and cozy house, drawing in my book. Suddenly, a long forgotten memory emerges on the surface of my consciousness: I always wanted to be an artist. I was never interested in math, history, or languages; art classes were the only thing that kept me enthusiastic for a new day at school. I cherished that valued drawing book as the most important possession for years.
Then, I started repressing my passion, since everyone kept convincing me that drawing was a momentary interest. My drawing book, which brought me so many compliments when I was showing it to everyone around, ended up forgotten at the bottom of the drawer. I replaced the drive for art with the wish to get better grades. I restricted my time for drawing and replaced it with studying things that didn’t make me happy. My parents were finally happy, and I thought I was happy too. In reality, I was suffering. I was not doing the only thing that made me happy because of the wrong beliefs that it wouldn’t lead me to success.
Why do the expectations of our parents and teachers define even the possessions children should prefer? Why were we expected to love books and toys of historical figures? All those standards affected the way I understood the world – I started doing what I thought I had to do, and I kept suppressing the wishes to become something different. This invisible pattern of imposed choices traced my educational path. When I decided to toss my drawing book at the bottom of that drawer, I began the complex journey into adulthood… and I was completely unprepared for that step. The separation from my most precious possession was possibly the greatest mistake I made in my life, because it symbolized a new era of growing up: I no longer did things that made me happy. From that point on, I was thinking how to satisfy other people with my grades and actions.
Dostoevsky was right. That memory of the drawing book can really save me at this time, when I have no idea what I want to become. I still haven’t set a clear career path to follow because both of my parents have different ideas. Since they separated, my father kept pushing me to become a doctor, just like himself. My mother, on the other hand, doesn’t want all that stress for me, so she is trying to direct me towards banking. Unfortunately, I still don’t know what I want for myself. The memory of my drawing book made me realize: all underlying reasons for my hesitations and insecurities are hidden behind the fact that I abandoned my true passion and started following other people’s instructions.
A few days ago, I went to my old room, looking for that drawing book in the drawer. I couldn’t find it… my mother told me she threw all those things away years ago. My most sacred possession from childhood was meaningless to her. After the initial feelings of anger and disappointment went away, I came down to the most important realization in my life: I was the only one in charge of my future. My drawing book made me understand: the precious memories and possessions from childhood are not always momentary ideas that disappear as time goes by. They express our truest, unspoiled emotions. If children learn how to follow those hints, they will have a great chance of growing up into happy, accomplished individuals.
Author’s Note: I’ve written this narrative essay sample on the request of one of my student. If you want to suggest me to write a sample on any other topic, please contact me here.
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