This I Believe

Margaret - Mokena, Illinois
Entered on April 20, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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My hero changed my world

The dictionary definition of a hero is someone of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities. To me, a hero is someone you can look up to and count on. Someone who has overcome obstacles and bettered themselves for others. This I believe that a hero is a role model and my hero is my dad.

Growing up, I always remember my childhood as a happy one. My parents would dress up with my brothers and me to play teenage mutant ninja turtles and I can still hear the lullabies my dad would sing when he rocked me to sleep at night. As I grew older, I started to become more aware of my father’s alcoholism. I remember he would come home from work, grab the same cup he drank out of everyday, pour his glass of whiskey and get to drinking. I never really looked at my father as an alcoholic. I just thought he liked to come home from his long, stressful day of work and have a drink. As I became more observant, I realized that one cup turned to two and then to three and before I knew it, he did not act like my dad anymore. The man that was standing over me screaming at me was not my daddy. He was a completely different person and someone I did not want to have anything to do with anymore. One night when we were eating dinner I called my father an alcoholic because I was so angry with him. He had been drinking, so he shot up from the dinner table, grabbed me by my arms and threw me into the living room couch. My mom decided that enough was enough, and told my father we were leaving. The next day was extremely hard.

My brothers and I went to school, my mom went to work, and my dad stayed home. I can remember the tears in my father’s eyes when I opened the car door. He had come to pick me up from school but we did not say a word the whole car ride home. As we pulled into the garage, he put the car in park and I went to get out – but he stopped me. He told me he was sorry about last night and that he knew nothing he could say would justify what he did. I just told him it was okay and got out of the car. To be honest, I didn’t believe him. He had told me he was sorry so many times before, but he just repeatedly kept making the same mistakes. That night after dinner, he sat us all down at the table. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I just let myself listen to what he had to say. He told my family how much we meant to him. He said that he was sorry for ruining the family he had worked so hard to create. He told my mom that he loved her and that he was sorry for everything he put our family through. He told my brothers and I that he loved us very much, and that he realized that his family was more important to him than anything in the world: even the alcohol. After this speech, from that moment forward, my dad has been my hero. I am so grateful everyday of my life for my father. He overcame one of the hardest addictions in the world for our family, and now things could not be better. Not only is my dad my hero, but he is my role model. He gives me advice, looks out for me, and loves me for everything that I am. My father is a character of distinguished ability, and insurmountable courage. According to the dictionary my dad is a hero on paper, but to me, my dad is my role model and a hero in my heart.