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Dysfunctional Families

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Topics: Family
Roman Alexander
September 27, 2010
English 102
Essay 2
Dysfunctional Families In the memoir “Navigating Disaster” by Sheryl ST. Germain, a woman is encountering many problems in her life: her son (Gray) leaving and not wanting to talk to her, and also the destruction of her hometown by a devastating hurricane. There are many messages that can be pulled from this memoir, but the one many people will be able to connect with would most likely be the theme of dysfunctional families. The author had been in a bad relationship on and off for several years with a man (R) who attacked her son one night when she went away. After this incident, her relationship with R ended, but her relationship with her son also ended for a while. On top of dealing with Hurricane Katrina she also had to deal with her son heading toward California, not wanting to be a part of his mother’s life anymore. Her son finally wrote her a year after the hurricane hit, saying that he was sorry for many things and that he was doing well. In the end, almost two years later, Gray is visiting her and their relationship seems to be improving. This is an example of hope from dysfunctional families. Many people grow up in dysfunctional families and this memoir lets people know that they can still have a good life no matter what. I can be an example of having a good life despite growing up in a dysfunctional family. My father was on drugs and he abused my mother, my brothers, and me. My brothers and I tried to stay with our grandmother as much as we could just to get away from all of the abuse. As we got older, we started defending our mother and ourselves. My mother ended up getting a divorce and raised us by herself. She had two jobs to support me and my brothers so we stayed with our grandmother whenever we came home from school, and we only saw our mother for maybe four hours a day, if we were lucky. The good thing that came from this is that she always encouraged us to have a better life than her so we all did well in school. My oldest brother graduated in the top ten of his class, I graduated as the valedictorian of my class, and my youngest brother is currently one of the tops students in his class. Growing up in this dysfunctional family gave us a reason to want to do well in life. Many celebrities also grew up in dysfunctional families who are now succeeding in life. Actor Mark Wahlberg is a perfect example. According to a biography on Mark Wahlberg, he grew up in Boston and when his mother and father got a divorce, she took it real bad. She felt her emotional neglect for her youngest son (Mark) had a bad effect on him and that’s why he behaved so badly and dropped out of school at the age of 14. In an article written in by Scott Bowels called “Wahlberg: Bad boy is now a family man,” Mark Wahlberg grew up in a dysfunctional family but he is now a successful, family man who put his bad ways behind him. Chris Bridges says, “He’s the guy I look at. That’s how you want to transition your career from being a bad boy to a family man. He’s still as competitive and tough as he was while he was making music. But now he’s an actor, a producer, a family man” (Bowels). Kids from dysfunctional families not only grow up to become actors and musicians, they can also become entrepreneurs, businessmen and women. Lynn Donohue, who is now an owner of a multimillion-dollar bricklaying company, grew up in a dysfunctional family. According to an article by James Dowd titled “Driven to succeed: Lynn Donohue built unlikely pathway out of troubled youth,” Donohue dropped out of school at the age of 15, ran away from home, ended up living on the streets, and eventually, alcohol and drug abuse came a part of her life. When she returned back to her hometown, she entered a male-dominated construction industry, became a bricklayer, and became the owner of a multimillion-dollar company all before she turned 40. Now, she doesn’t regret anything that she did in her life and what happened to her. Donohue explained, “If I’d been accepted from the beginning, I would have been a totally different person and probably not as successful. The best thing that ever happened to me, was facing adversity and overcoming it” (Dowd). She later found a nonprofit organization that promotes her career development, so she now spends her time as a motivational speaker. Many people are inspired and motivated by her stories and it encourages them to succeed. Denise Burnett, entrepreneur and president of OR Nurses Inc., says, “She faced overwhelming odds, but her perseverance and determination led her to succeed…I can relate to her story, and as an entrepreneur I’m inspired by her success” (Dowd). Lynn Donohue is the perfect example of becoming successful and beating the odds of coming up in a dysfunctional family. In conclusion, growing up in a dysfunctional family does not have to end badly. Many people become successful despite their family issues. I experienced it first-hand, and also celebrities like Mark Wahlberg and entrepreneurs like Lynn Donohue, experienced it. So this memoir, “Navigating Disaster,” lets people know that they can still have a good, successful life no matter what the problem is.

Works Cited
Dowd, James. “Driven to succeed: Lynn Donohue built unlikely pathway out of troubled youth.” The Commercial Appeal: Web. 25 Sep 2010.
"Mark Wahlberg." 2010. Biography.com. 27 Sep 2010, 09:27 http://www.biography.com/articles/MarkWahlberg-9542335. Scott, Bowles. "Wahlberg: Bad boy is now a family man." USA Today n.d.: Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 28 Sept. 2010.

Cited: Dowd, James. “Driven to succeed: Lynn Donohue built unlikely pathway out of troubled youth.” The Commercial Appeal: Web. 25 Sep 2010. "Mark Wahlberg." 2010. Biography.com. 27 Sep 2010, 09:27 http://www.biography.com/articles/MarkWahlberg-9542335. Scott, Bowles. "Wahlberg: Bad boy is now a family man." USA Today n.d.: Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 28 Sept. 2010.

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