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My daughter, my role model

Alia Graves

True role models are those who posses the qualities that we would like have, and those who inspire us to be better people.

My 11-year-old daughter, Alia, is one of those people. 

When I watch her interact with people — friends and strangers — I think “Why can’t more people be like that? Why can’t I be more like that?”

Alia consistently demonstrates a vitality  and passion for making her life and the lives of others better. She loves to make people laugh. Often, she is the first to notice that someone is feeling down and tries to lift that person’s spirits. Others notice her efforts, too, and are drawn to her.

My daughter, my role model.

One evening, Alia and I were standing in line at the grocery store. Customers were stacking up as the cashiers struggled to keep up. The scene grew tense as patience grew thin.

Suddenly, Alia turned to me and said, in a louder-than-usual voice, “Dad. Do you want to hear a joke?”

I smiled. “Sure.”

“What do you call a cow with three legs?”

“I don’t know. What do you call a cow with three legs?”


There was a split-second of silence ... then nearly a dozen people around us, including the cashier, burst out laughing.

One girl. One joke. Pure genius.

That’s all it took to break a gloomy spell and brighten the lives of others. We laughed about it all the way home. 

One recent afternoon, I learned that my daughter had parted ways with a favorite classmate.

“Why?” I asked.

Her classmate, Alia explained, liked to do something called “shopping.” She and other students would “cruise the lost and found area” and take for themselves jackets, backpacks or other personal items.

“That’s just not right,” my daughter said. “That stuff belongs to other people.”

 My daughter, my role model.

I find there is so much to learn from young people, not only my daughter, but those with whom she associates. It wasn’t always that way. When I was younger, I sought direction and inspiration from those older and, I thought, wiser than me. Now, at age 46, it’s the opposite.

Fortunately, there are many young people in our community who serve as good role models. Many of them are written about in this newspaper. Like my daughter, they are honest, positive, hardworking and, most of all, they care about others. 

My job — and that of all of us older folks — is to support these young people in every way possible; to help them grow into strong, responsible, loving adults.

My passion — and my pleasure — is that they do the same for me.


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