The world is an exciting place to live as it presents people with opportunities to change their living standards and climb the social classes. Furthermore, it provides the younger generations with role models which they can emulate as they grow. Just like the older generations that preceded me, the world was kind enough to award me a role model who has been an inspiration in my societal life. The current environment individuals are self-centered, and it takes more than luck to find a person that is willing to guide their young people through their lives and actions. Therefore, in this essay, I elaborate on the life of one of my close mentors in social and academic life. The paper expounds on the life of Helena Cadence, a lady I have known and interacted with for more than fifteen years. The paper evaluates her life from a sociological perspective, assessing how the society shaped her life.
Helena Cadence was born in 1970 to Mr. and Mrs. Allan Smith. Her parents were both African-American living in New York City. Her parents were not economically stable and relied on their small grocery shop in the streets of New York. Interestingly, unlike many African American families that lived in New York in those days who had an average of five children, Helena was the only child in her family. This lack of brothers or sisters was due to the health condition of her mother. Her mother was suffering from uterus cancer, and it was only through the grace of God that Helena was born. However, this family of three struggled to survive in the economically demanding city due to lack of professional jobs. Both her parents were uneducated meaning that their small grocery shop was their only hope of survival. This was the same story with other African- American families who most of them worked as laborers in factories across New York.
The financial struggles meant that Helena did not have a smooth sail in her education. Most of the times she was in and out of school due to school fee burden. The death of her mother when she was fifteen did more harm than good as she was left only with her father as the sole source economic and psychological support. However, her father was more than willing to terminate the illiteracy diseases that had rocked his house. Helena always tells me that her father would consistently remind her that education is the key and that it can make one dine with the king. Therefore, for Helena education is more than just the art of gaining knowledge or applying it, for her, it is the most precious gift that parents can give to their children. Many are the times that she tells me that if it were not for education, she could be still operating their small grocery shop in New York. However, this is not the case as she is now one of the most sought after uterine cancer in the United States and Europe. Her story brings out the beauty of life and how the society can influence the life of an individual. It is interesting to note that Helena treats the same diseases that killed her mother. During those early days, cancer was more like HIV in the current society. The reason for this comparison is because there were few specialists in that field and cost of medication was out of reach for an economically struggling family like that of Helena.
The story of Helena’s rise to prominence confirms one old saying that says that the fruits of education are sweet. Helena is now a holder on Ph.D. in Medicine with a specialty in uterine cancer. This is an achievement of an individual who hailed from a humble background. But what was the driving force behind her educational success? Several factors defined the educational path for Helena. One was the death of her mother though uterine cancer, which motivated her to pursue a career in this field.
In sociology, there are occurrences which serve as motivators and death can be one of them. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the happenings which changed the life of Helena carefully. According to Willis and Reid, an understanding of how past experiences affect midlife as well as how experiences of midlife shape subsequent aging are essential to a life course approach to individual life (6). The argument by Willis and Reid implies that things that we experience in our past lives play a crucial role in defining our future and for the case of Helena the death of her mother served as the motivator. Secondly, her father’s determination to end illiteracy in his house also played a crucial role in making her successful in academic matters. Despite the economic struggles that Mr. Smith had, he was always there to support her daughter. Sometimes I find it unbelievable when Mr. Smith tells my father that he was even willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of her daughter’s education.
The career goals that Helena has are what motivate me in life. For her, employment is not all about financial gains. The reason for her declaration is that to her being a medical specialist is a unique call. The death of her mother taught Helena that life is more precious than money. Therefore, she longs for the day when medical services will be free to all citizens. Furthermore, she aims to establish her medical center where she will be offering healthcare services for free. According to her, if such centers existed during her childhood maybe her mother could have not died. For, Helena money has never been the motivator it will never be in her career. Her love for the well-being of the society is what keeps her going in the medical field. This intense love for humanity and works of charity is closely tied to her strong Christianity beliefs. Both her parents were staunch Catholics, and this stand seems to have consumed their daughter. Helena tightly binds her social and professional life to teaching of the church. This balance is illustrated in her actions such as supporting charity efforts, offering free counseling to patients, volunteering in community works and even providing medical services free of charge to low-income families. These are actions that Helena terms as the works of mercy performed by Christ during his day on earth. Therefore, for her as a follower of Christ, she must replicate what her role model practiced. According to Keenan, all Catholics are supposed to participate actively in works of mercy with central acts being feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and caring for the sick (45). There are the main areas that Helena concentrates on during her social and professional life.
Helena never considers marriage as being important which is quite contradicting for a Christian. However, her view about marriage concurs with most of the modern ladies who term selves as being career women. For this group of individual, they are so in love with their professions that they cannot afford it with a relationship. According to Helena, a family will restrict her services delivery to the society. Therefore, she plans never to get married a stand that her father has come to accept. This is a decision that could be highly contested in the days of her mother when all girls were expected to raise their families. However, the understanding of marriage has significantly evolved and in the modern society, it is seen as an obstacle to career growth by many. Helena’s decision not to get married could have been contributed by the type of lifestyle that she had after the death of her mother. Helena grew up seeing her father struggle to raise her after the demise of her mother. Therefore, she views a family as a source of hardship and struggles of parents making her avoid having one.
The future is promising for Helena with the type of sociological approach that she has adopted. In the modern society, it is almost impossible to find individuals who are so selfless and makes the welfare of the community their priority. I believe that in a few years’ time, she will walk away with the prestigious Nobel price dues to her commitment to community service. Furthermore, I see her attitude towards marriage changing with time. This is because she will soon find the importance of having a family and the pleasure that it brings to an individual’s life.
In conclusion, Helena stand out among the few professionals that I know who have the interest of the society at their heart. Her love for works of mercy is what makes her different from the rest. In the modern society, she is a rare breed which will be difficult to replace.
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