by Olivia L.

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Jeffery Laske

A hero can be anyone. A doctor, a lawyer, a dentist. My hero was none of those. He is my father, Jeffery (Jeff) Laske. He works at an investing company with two other men and has pushed through many obstacles. His career did not go as planned. He wanted to be a university professor, but there were too many people in that field. He faced the pressure of joining a new business. When he was a young adult, his Chicago apartment burned and he was forced to stay the night with a friend. Therefore, for his will to stay positive and to persevere, he truly earned being my hero.
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Jeff's Books

My father enjoys reading, especially philosophical books as depicted above. These are some of the books that he owns.

The Dragon Slayer is Not Always the Best

When thinking of a hero, a picture of a brave, young prince fighting dragons and other evil beasts in order to save his true love comes to mind. But in reality, the concept of a hero is much more complex than one may think on first impression. A hero is an individual who

does something which benefits a group or another person.

A hero is a man or woman who will risk his or her life to save others. Imagine a firefighter, running into a building, flames licking the rooftop, to save the inhabitants locked inside. Consider the fear, rushing through that firefighter's mind, yet he still risks his own life. At that moment, the firefighter was not thinking of himself. He was thinking of others, those helpless victims; therefore, he will be regarded as a hero. Courage is necessary to make that choice. Strength is needed to be the one to make a difference. Thinking about saving the day is easy, but carrying out the plan is easier said than done. That firefighter is a hero. He or she has benefited others by saving their lives while no one else would take the risk.

A hero is a friend who stands up for others. Elrod always was bullied because of his name. Every day, the taunting started again. Elrod desperately wanted the bullies to stop, but he never had the courage to stand up to them. He was too afraid that the bullies would ridicule him even more. But he had a friend, Angus, who also was bullied because of his name. Angus was able to stand up for both of them and tell the bullies to stop because Elrod was too shy. Because of Angus, the bullying to both Elrod and Angus stopped permanently. Angus is a hero to Elrod because he demonstrated courage and dignity when Elrod needed his help.

Heroes range from firefighters risking their own lives for others to friends standing up against bullies. A hero takes risks for the benefit of others. Both the firefighter and Angus are heroes. They show signs of strength and courage. They helped someone else. A true hero is much different than the common opinion. Think about it. You can be a hero too. There are infinite ways. The young, brave prince is not the only hero.

The Earth is the Center of the Universe

A hero is an individual who takes risks that benefits others. Galileo is a hero. He went against Aristotelian philosophy, which was accepted by everyone at the time. Galileo stated that the Earth was not the center of the universe and that it revolved around the Sun - the Sun did not revolve around the Earth. Galileo is a true hero because his risks changed our view of the world.

Galileo is a true because he stood against the Church. Galileo also revealed that the Moon was not a perfect sphere, but had its own unique landscape. The Church did not agree. “Galileo was given a trial, sentenced to life imprisonment, and forced to take back on his teachings” (Bruno). Galileo demonstrated bravery by contradicting the Church and Aristotelians. He was confident in his theories. Galileo’s research changed science. Galileo benefitted science by showing the world the Moon’s true shape. Therefore, Galileo is considered a true hero.

Galileo and my father are true heros because they pursued truths, even with career risk. Galileo’s parents urged him to take a medical path to make more money, but Galileo wanted a different career. He dreamed of becoming a mathematician in order to advance his knowledge. My father, like Galileo, did not choose a straightforward career. He chose to study philosophy, which has the same career risk as a mathematician. Both of them had different thinking patterns than the general population. Galileo inquired the true way astronomy worked while my father questions groupthink in the world of investment in order to help others. Galileo and my father were willing to take risks. Jeffery Laske and Galileo are heroes because they have taken risks that have benefitted others.

There are infinite types of heroes. Jeff and Galileo are only a few of them. Abraham Lincoln, Oliver Sacks, Marcus Aurelius, the Nearings. They are all also heroes (they are also my father’s main heroes). They are so alike yet so different. Galileo was a mathematician, my dad is an investor. Galileo founded new theories, my dad helps others. But in the end, both have benefitted others, whether the world or just a few individuals.

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Errare Humanum Est

“Errare humanum est” translates from Latin to the famous phrase, “to err is human.” Failure is an everyday worry. According to NPR’s book review for Being Wrong by Kathryn Schultz, it is in human nature to want to be better than others. Failure is a sign that one is not better than others. Without failure, growth would be impossible, little would be accomplished, and effort is increased. Everyone needs failure in their lives.

Failure is needed because it encourages growth. Pauline Estrem, author from Success Magazine, believes that to deal with failure, “the first [step] is to consciously maintain a positive attitude so that, no matter what you encounter, you’ll be able to see the lessons of the experience and continue to push forwards.” Pushing forwards means improving. With each failure, a lesson is learned. If one is already perfect, growing stronger is impossible. With only success, one can solely stay at the same place forever and never improve.

Failure is needed because it increases effort. Marie Curie was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize. Because Curie was a woman, there were complications. According to Marie Curie - Young Scientist, “They nominated only Pierre Curie and Becquerel, describing the discovery of radium and polonium as if Pierre alone had accomplished it" (Gormley 202). Marie Curie faced failure because her work was not recognized initially. Marie Curie learned from her experiences to stay strong and grew in confidence. Her intense effort, originating from her failures, led her to become one of the most famous scientists. Without failing, Curie never would have become the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize. Her work would not be appreciated as much. Without failure, accomplishments would be rare. Therefore, failure is needed.

Failure is needed because without it, less would be accomplished. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was a “college dropout,” a “fired tech executive,” and an “unsuccessful businessman” according to Allison Linn, writer for NBC News. In fact, Steve Jobs was eventually fired from his own company. Although he was let go by Apple, he did not stop pursuing his goals. Later, Jobs returned to Apple. But his failures opened a new door for him to walk through. Allison Lin notes that Steve Jobs “also recalled how dropping out [of college] left him with time to take a calligraphy class, which later would inform the typography aesthetic of the first Mac.” Without Jobs experiencing failure, our technical world would not be the same as it is currently. Apple would not have risen to the high standards known to today. Computers would have been organized differently. Jobs would not have contributed as much to the world without failure.

Experts claim that failing can deeply depress a person. After all, when one fails, “A black cloud settles over our lives-because something went wrong” depression expert James Park states. Failure feels horrible. A black cloud of sadness, as Park stated, takes over life, destroying happiness. Therefore, some claim that no one should face the feeling of failure.

But really, one must be optimistic. Failure tends to lead to a pessimistic mindset, but everything has a good and bad side. In fact, errors must be embraced instead of feared. They teach important lessons. Kathryn Schulz, author of Being Wrong, says, “Like a piece of furniture that falls apart, a mistake reveals more of its construction-of the efforts and motivations of the mistake-maker-than a success does.” Therefore, it is important to understand errors made and learn from mistakes. Most fear failure because no one wants to be thought of as “lesser,” but the truth is that no humans are perfect. Therefore, failure is needed.

Failure is needed to some degree in everyday life. Without failure, one would never grow and little would be accomplished. No inventions. No improvement. No happiness. If Steve Jobs had never dropped college, Apple would not have been founded. Without failure, the world would be a lesser place.

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Jeff's Car and Bike

My father enjoys unusual transportation, including his recumbent bike and 1988 SAAB, which is pictured above. His car has an engine that was put in backwards and a hood that slides off forwards.
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