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INTOTHEBEST, Inc. Scholarship Honorable Mention Bo Liu 1

Congratulations to Bo Liu from Pattonville
I hope you enjoy reading Bo Liu's essay as much as I did. A German proverb says: "The apple does not fall far from the tree." I think Bo will become a successful writer who makes a tremendous impact in his community and on our world -- like his grandfather.

Bo's Essay: A Gift of Heart

Physically, my grandfather has never been an imposing man. At five feet seven and weighing just over 120 pounds, he is a stick figure. In contrast, he has proven to be a giant in character and a motivation to me. By loving me, he taught me how to be a true friend and parent in my future; by living in harmony with the environment, he inspired me to respect nature; by demonstrating dedication to serve his community, he made me believe that I can make a difference.

My family- Mother, Father and I- was what the Chinese called "a bowl of fire with a paper cover." That is, although often appearing peaceful to an outsider, for me, family life was always hell. My parents fought constantly, sometimes physically. When disciplining me, they stuck to the Confucian advice "there is no good son without a beating." Unlike my parents, my grandfather held integrity to his own principles even when they conflicted with the teachings of Confucius. He always welcomed me with love and care. Thus, from four and on, Grandpa and his frog farm became my refuge.

On his frog farm my grandfather raised frogs and harvested from them, frog oil- a precious ingredient of Chinese medicine. Located in the rural area of Heilong Jiang Province of China, the farm's vegetation exhibited a watery green that would fool one into thinking that it was a lively place. Under the trees, the dark place stank of decay and moisture- the perfect conditions for frogs. On the farm, my grandfather taught to me how to survive in nature and be respectful to its forces. The most powerful lesson took place when a snake slithered into my pants. Never having seen a snake so close before, I was petrified. Warning me not to move, my grandfather held me still, slowly kneeled down on one knee and with a lightning-fast pull, yanked the snake out and hurled it at a tree. My grandfather saved me from the snake. In the process, he taught me not to move when near a poisonous snake and to move quickly when I have to. By learning how to survive an encounter with a snake, I understood more about nature, and with that understanding came respect.

When not working on the frog farm, my grandfather served his community as a doctor. Although born in the city, my grandfather volunteered to be posted in the rural areas, where he would receive lower pay than that of a city doctor's, to serve the peasants who he believed needed care the most. Despite a meager income, my grandfather always worked tirelessly and put the needs of his patients before his own. More than once I saw him giving away precious medicine, including his frog oil, to those who could not afford it. For some poor families, he even made free house calls. Although his steadfast dedication earned him only a modest living, his zeal earned him something far greater than the material comforts of money- respect. When "the Doctor" is mentioned around the small town of Yong Yuan, the phrase is always accompanied by a sense of reverence and admiration.

I, too, revere and admire my grandfather. As a man, my grandfather kept his integrity even when it contradicted Confucius and paid due respect to nature. As a grandfather, by loving and trusting me, he showed me how a parent ought to be- a friend, not a dictator. As a doctor, he cured hundreds of people and left his good name in the town of Yong Yuan. I thank my grandfather. I thank him for showing instead of telling me how to be an adult, a parent; I thank him for teaching me to respect nature; I thank him for making me see that if one is dedicated to serve the community, one can make a difference. There is a Chinese saying: "Gift of silver, gift of gold, nothing is better than the gift of heart." I thank him for giving me the gift of heart.

Click here to read another essay by Bo Liu

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